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Yesterday, I found magic in the material form of a scrapbook containing photographs of pugilists. Their faces contain much of life: fear, sorrow, loneliness, humor, despair, and, though beaten, maintaining dignity, and persevering. I can’t wait to put this treasure to use. The photos will allow me to fuse my older, sports-themed work with my newer paintings. To only display one page from the scrapbook is a tease, at best, but I will. More can be discovered about this stunning group of photographs on Julie Mellby’s Graphic Arts Blog.

From a scrapbook of San Francisco area fighters, 1917?-1930

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