When I paint large canvases, I tend to have two primary subjects, landscapes and figures. I approach each differently; the landscapes are usually remembered, somewhat faultily, places both real and imagined but purely from my head. They exist purely as metaphor or allegory, representing a a mnemonic fugue state.
The figures, on the other hand, are a different thing altogether, massive static totems. If my landscapes are dreams, the figures are the dreamers. They tend to be nudes, oversized for the image plain with little or no background context. I paint them en grisaille with light washes of color, like a tinted photograph, realistic but not photographic.
I really can’t stand “action” poses, I would have made a horrible comic book artist, especially since I don’t like comics. I like figures that look like they want to move, are about to move, have a dynamic tension, unconstrained by time and a captured moment.
People tend to comment on the dirty feet of my figures. They are that way not as a contrivance or “look” but because walking around barefoot gets feet dirty. It also makes it easier to model and define an otherwise blobby bit of anatomy.