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.
Once again, I’ve been inspired by Whitney Browne and her painterly photographs. The dancer in Double Exposure and Closeup appears once more in On Fire, completing the triptych called Triple Play. Wonderful fun to paint (I do love red), I always enjoy capturing the suggestion of movement on a static field. That most of her face is missing is reminiscent of the tangos I paint from the chest or waist down (I do love cropping an image). Thanks to Alicia Keyes for providing inspiration for the title.
It’s been a busy month, so I just got to look through my website email to find and print my award certificate for Modern Family in the Seascapes Art Exhibition on lightspacetime.art. Imagine my surprise when I found two certificates, the second one for Aquarium! And Aquarium received a Special Merit Award! This painting was my first effort at jellyfish, the first time I painted on a gessoboard and the subject of the very first post I published on this website on July 13, 2013, called “Inspiration.”
The BallenIsles Art Expo | 2016 is open today through Sunday, showcasing the paintings, sculpture, photographs, woodworking, mixed media, needlework, paper art and pottery of eighty artists who live in this community. Given the opportunity to select only two of the paintings I’ve done this past year, I chose to exhibit Dancing in the Dark and Let’s Get Out of Here. Attending the lavish opening last night with some art loving friends, as always, I enjoyed the great variety of work displayed. Impressive…
When I met Whitney Browne this summer, I proposed a collaboration between photographer and painter…thinking we might be a good fit, particularly because of our interests in dance and in portraits. Having just spent months painting faces and looking for a change of pace, I went to whitneybrowne.com, Whitney’s website, for inspiration from her photographs of dancers. I can’t imagine how she got this shot, but the movement and flow captured in a moment made me want to paint it. I cropped and edited and took some liberties with her work, but I hope I did the dancer justice. Actually, I hope I did the photographer justice…
I love to paint portraits, especially of people I don’t know. I put a lot of pressure on myself to get those faces right, so it’s much easier for me to paint strangers, who are unlikely to ever view my efforts. Painting people you know (or worse, love) is much more stressful. I hold my breath when I give portraits as gifts to family or friends of mine, never certain that they really like my efforts. And painting myself? I don’t think so.
So I went to a professional—here’s a shout out for Whitney Browne Photography in New York City! I was looking for a good picture of myself for my website and social media, something a little better than the ones my husband has taken of me, usually out at dinner, when he tells me how great I look and tries to capture that with his iPhone 6. Yes, I’ve seen all the ads, but I’m afraid that the results have been mostly disappointing. So I had a fun couple of hours in Whitney’s studio last week, with a wonderful photographer, a backdrop and lighting–everything a woman my age should have when facing a camera. This is one of the final portraits; the other is on my website under “About Me.”
Whitney and I have talked about exploring a unique collaboration between photographer and painter—a new source of energy and inspiration for both of us. Give us some time…but stay tuned.
Haven’t I Seen You Here Before?
You feel like you get to know people when you paint them (staring into their faces for hours at a time), and when you paint two people, you find a narrative for them. Haven’t I Seen You Here Before? describes a man trying to pick up a woman with the oldest line in the world, which is likely the cause of her slight smirk.
Room 503 paints the woman as the aggressor…
Let’s Get Out of Here
as does Let’s Get Out of Here, though that appears to be more of an invitation than a full press.
Shh…Don’t Tell Anyone
Shh…Don’t Tell Anyone seems the least suggestive of this group—more a secret being told than any desire being expressed. But these are only my narratives…what do you think?