Totems and stuff

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.

And a one

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. 

1994, 30.48, oil

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.

2000, 30x48, oil

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.

2000, 48x48, oil

“Winter Was” gouache, casein and wood 2013 8″x11″ open

Image   A friend of mine had posted a photo of her husband walking their dog in a snowy wood.  I was quite taken with the image of the bare trees silhouetted against the snow but didn’t really give it a second thought until I saw Marina napping on the bed.  As previously discussed, she never ceases to inspire me.  It may be anachronistic but she is, and always has been, my muse.  The sheet reminded me of snow and then the trees, the finished piece formed in my mind immediately.  Putting the figure in the snow would just be silly and a bit too close to surrealism, a movement I was never particularly fond of, than I care to go.  I am particularly fond of the dynamic between the figure and ground in this piece.  I’d rather suggest dreams than illustrate them.