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A trip to New York and my 2nd day of painting Hattie McDaniel

What a wonderful day I had yesterday in New York City visiting some great art exhibits. The Leon Golub show is sobering and I looked intently at the cut canvases and their placement on the wall. Duct tape can only go so far and affixing unstretched canvas to walls is no easy task. His paint looks like dried cement and this reinforces the often gruesome content. At the opposite end of the color spectrum is the work of Judith Bernstein. Her paintings are day-glo satires. Both artists’ works are similar for their angry disavowals of the status quo.

Today I worked on the Hattie McDaniel portrait trying to add more pure colors.

Hattie McDaniel (2nd day, detail) Hattie McDaniel (2nd day)


Inspired by an online movie class

I am taking an online course entitled Marriage and the Movies and it has me thinking about how characters that African Americans had to play in movies were almost exclusively supporting roles, both figuratively and literally as they often had to prop up white actors/actresses. Most famously Hattie McDaniel’s character performed this function for Vivien Leigh’s Scarlett in Gone with the Wind. I remember many in the audience hissing when they saw the slaves in a showing of the film in New York in the 1990’s.I like to think that this portrait just begun of McDaniel will hiss and more if anyone would challenge her.

Beginning Hattie McDaniel as body builder (detail) Sketch Hattie McDaniel as body builder


Childhood redux

I wish I had this painting for the Childhood in Decline exhibit at the now defunct Blank Canvas Gallery in New Hope, PA. But I needed to read the owner’s statement for the show to create this painting. She wrote of her difficult childhood, and I have been thinking of it on and off for over a month. I created this painting using her statement as inspiration, as well as the affecting photographs of poor children, Spitalfields Nippers by Horace Warner. A compilation of mug shots by Raynal Pellicer and An Illustrated History of Boxing by Nat Fleischer and Sam Andres, updated by Dan Rafael were also consulted.

Boxing angel Boxing angel (detail)

After a long dry spell

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.

Dancer with face of a fighter