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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Annie Jones, bearded woman

I am working on a painting of Annie Jones who was a performer with P.T. Barnum. The photographic image depicted is from the generously illustrated P.T. Barnum: America’s Greatest Showman by the Kunhardts. I include a painting I created in 2000 of a bearded woman from a Jusepe Ribera painting. Books that have been influencing my work lately: Gerhard Richter: A life in painting by Dietmar Elger, and Diane Arbus Revelations by Doon Arbus.

Annie Jones painting in process
Paintings and other images of bearded women.

Story painting

I was looking for circus performers on the LOC site, and found Irene Montgomery “the most perfect formed, circus performer in the business”. I found her intriguing, as I have recently completed two novels about circus life. One by Melanie Benjamin, entitled The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb; the other by Stacy Carlson, entitled Among the Wonderful. I have depicted Ms. Montgomery with an imagined fellow performer: a friend, I hope, as the books pointed out how lonely circus life can be.

oil on canvas, 22 x 28, Sept 2011
detail