I am happy with this dancer with the face of a fighter. The past few months have seen a lot of starts and stops with nothing coming together in a way that was meaningful for me. I found the face for this painting in the Illustrated History of Boxing and a similar figure to the one I painted in a book about male ballet dancers. Combining the beautiful with the ugly makes for a compelling image.
I am still reeling after finishing Siri Hustvedt‘s novel of the New York art world, The Blazing World. I haven’t organized my thoughts about it yet so can’t discuss it clearly. This review does a pretty good job of summing it up, but my review would also have a great deal of anger directed at the many wrongs the author intelligently depicts. I began this portrait today – it is my portrait of the fighter from the perspective of an angry middle-aged woman, which I am.
I was listening to the old radio show The Green Hornet. He had a vehicle he called the black beauty. This is mine; using so much black paint is challenging and provides mystery to the final product. Last night I heard Joyce Carol Oates speak at Labyrinth Books and she said being an artist or writer is stressful because it is difficult and if it isn’t stressful then it is not worth doing. I paraphrase, but that is how I heard it, and I couldn’t agree more.
I am beginning to call the San Francisco area fighters the Olympic Club fighters because the name is more concise, as the photograph album images I am working from contain fighters from that athletic club. An observation I made while painting was I am using paint like I am building a body from clay: pushing parts together with force. Though I often paint that way, the surface being naturally colored linen (a beige color) makes the painting of the face that much more difficult. I have to make the colors more vibrant to compete with the surface, and this pushes me to be more forceful with the paint application itself, not just the colors I use.
It is wonderful to know that artists are being appreciated no wonder where they may live, as a recent article in the NY Times shows. It is interesting to compare what the curators from the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art are undertaking with a book by Kelly Grovier, which believes that almost no art being created in the United States defines our age. Though I disagree with using the term ‘art’ when describing many of the works in this book; I see most work the author has chosen as information, or perhaps informart, and the artists as informationists. This is because much of the work wishes to utilize and impart as much data as possible, rather than showing us the artist’s own heartfelt response to information. There is a terrible coldness to much of art today, a byproduct of pop and conceptual art which technology has only encouraged.
Here is a recently completed painting of fighter A219: