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.
I subscribe to an arts organization called See.Me that specializes in providing online profiles for artists to display and promote their work and holds real-world exhibitions every few years. Last week, See.Me featured Rising Again in Volume 4 of Art Takes SoHo on their website, directing viewers to my website when they click on the image. It’s very gratifying to be included in a juried show with artists from all over the world.
For a variety of reasons, some too personal to share and others just a matter of geography and busy lives, my husband and I met our niece Jenny’s daughter, Ava, for the first time last winter and saw her again in April. She’s five now, a beautiful little girl with a big personality who completely beguiled us. I couldn’t help myself; I had to try to capture that twinkle in her portrait…
How delightful to end a relaxing holiday weekend with the news that Reach won a Special Merit Award in the Painting and Other Media category of the LightSpaceTime Online Gallery Open Art Exhibition for September 2018! The gallery received 702 entries from 31 different countries from around the world, as well as from 39 different states, and I am honored to be included with 64 other artists in this category. You can enjoy a slide show of this exhibition on lightspacetime.art by clicking on the thumbnail image on their website, which will then display larger images.
The LightSpaceTime Online Gallery ran a Vacation Special Art Competition (no theme) this June, asking artists to submit five images of their best abstract or representational art to be considered for exhibition. The gallery received 1558 entries from 39 different countries around the world, 43 states and the District of Columbia. There were only five overall winners, drawn from Painting and Other Media, 3 Dimensional Art and Photography and Digital Media, so I was especially honored to find that Rising Again has won a Special Merit Award in Painting and Other Media. Take a look at www.lightspacetime.art to see the 84 artists in this category with me, since I can only show you a small sample here.
The Marblehead Festival of the Arts is celebrated every Fourth of July weekend with exhibits and activities throughout the town. I have submitted paintings to the Painting Exhibit and Senior Art for as long as I have been eligible but have never won an award. Imagine my surprise when I got a phone call yesterday morning to tell me that my painting, Rising, in the Senior Art exhibit of the Festival, won the People’s Choice Award this year! People attending the exhibits have an opportunity to vote for their favorite work, and Rising got the most votes in Senior Art! I am beyond thrilled and happy to have this encouragement from the people who attended the festival in the last five days and saw fit to choose my painting. I am very honored, and I can’t seem to stop smiling!
I like to name my paintings…to give them titles that convey at least some of what I’m feeling and thinking about them as they come together from drawing to finished piece. This beast of a 40” X 40” canvas took a couple of weeks to paint, giving me more than enough time to think of a name for it. The dancer is so powerful, so focused, so aspirational in this moment frozen in time that I chose to call it Reach. I see him on the prow of a ship, on top of a mountain, on a stage in a theater, on top of the world, calling to mind Robert Browning’s poem, Andrea del Sarto, “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?” In what I now call my first life, I was a high school English teacher and taught creative writing; now I’m a painter, who continues to write and just quoted a poet who used a painter for his subject…now that’s the circle of life.
Thanks again to Whitney Browne, a most painterly photographer who allows me to use her images for inspiration. See what she does, especially Dance for the Photographic Eye, at http://www.whitneybrowne.com.