I have gotten tired of presenting myself to others. So I decided to just be real-for me, not for anyone else. In a world where we are watching ourselves 24/7 and almost never allowed to be anything but restrained and polished because who knows who may be looking, I have embarked on a series of paintings I call “Sloppy Selfies”. And I have included two other paintings as well, containing images that have pestered me for awhile.
I am challenging myself to create group portraits. It is a continuation of expressing the notion that that those who are prisoners, whether criminals or victims are connected to us and we to them. I did some drawings of groups when I was exploring images of my father as a child during World War II. These drawings led me back to the whole painting surface, as I am using negative and positive space to bring the picture into harmony. This was influenced by a talk I gave at the George School, when I spoke of how I was breaking the rule I learned in school of covering the whole canvas with paint. I rejected this in my series of fighters; now I am returning to it. My reading of the finely researched and brilliantly written David Park: a painter’s life by Nancy Boas also contributed to my thoughts about this painting. Park is my role model because of his ability to convey the universality of people. He did it with amazing technique, energy and integrity.
Today is the day my shipment of art supplies is arriving. Over 40 canvases, huge amount of colors, new palette knives-so excited I am having trouble focusing on painting. These are two portraits I am working on. The Dalai Lama is on twitter, so I am going to start following his posts. As it is I listen to his webcasts which keep me inspired at work.
I was able to paint during the 7 days without power. I have been reading two books about Cézanne. The biography by Alex Danchev is great, and the other book, Interpreting Cézanne by Paul Smith has me thinking a great deal about the artist’s use of patches of color, which I have been exploring in my portraits. I am using my palette knife almost exclusively now as well.