With Flame, I have completed my tenth painting using the painterly photography of Whitney Browne as reference (www.whitneybrowne.com). In her series, Dance for the Photographic Eye, I came across a portrait of a dancer, Raul Acanda, and knew I wanted to paint him. I did what I do: chose a big canvas, cropped the image, focused on his upper body and aspirational pose and called the painting Reach. I spent the summer on another couple of paintings but kept being drawn back to Whitney’s photograph, so I decided to use Raul as a model again to paint the source of his strength…his fulcrum…his lower body. The two paintings will be hung together side by side.
Until I started the painting, I didn’t realize how blatantly sexual it would be. The very size of the 40” X 40” canvas puts the image in your face. Titles suggested by some of my paint people and my husband included The Package and Red Hot, while a more esoteric friend thought Golden Ratio would work. I settled on Flame for a few reasons: he is red hot, like a flame; a flame is a source of heat; a small flame can set a big fire. Once again, people who passed by the studio and saw me painting him had their own commentary, usually accompanied by snickering. Quite a physical specimen, Raul…you should probably be the one snickering.