Recently, as there has been a general lifting of the pressure and constraint of the pandemic, I’ve expressed this feeling of freedom and exuberance in a series of paintings I call “Arena.” I am living and working from imagination in creating these circus-like scenes from my collection of horse figurines – so that I can work from life – and adding the human figures from my trove of figure drawings, also originally from life. The palette I’m using is an expression of this fun in that colors are very saturated and festive.
I’m doing much more planning for my paintings now. I’m developing my methods and technique for making them more real, more based on truth, less interpreted and stylized. The paint quality is now more traditional, because that serves this end.
I will start with a detailed drawing – or drawings – of the subjects, play with positions and elements in a composition study. Then I will do value and color studies, scale up and transfer the drawings with charcoal and then do an under-painting of the shadows in umber – all before painting!
I may still be stuck in the 18th Century, because my paintings often feel like they are coming from another time. One filled with beauty and peace. Or maybe it is a time that hasn’t happened yet.
I have been studying classical/academic figure painting since 1979 and have reached a point in my career at which I choose to utilize that skill and exercise my hard-won artistic freedom to do some experimentation as well as practice what I know how to do. I am using a limited palette and begin by working either from life, previous drawings, or memory, allowing the painting to direct me in the course of its creation.
I am inspired by and work mostly with the female figure. I often create a feeling of contemplation and incorporate elements of beauty, fantasy, and magic. Some aspects that set my work apart from other contemporary figurative paintings are an atmosphere of romance and a feeling of quietude and peacefulness.
Every day I paint, and when I paint, I enter the world that I am creating in the painting.
I am inspired by the human figure found in contemplation, by beauty and the abstract design of life in a form of dance. I think about proportion, movement and feeling when sketching.
I generally sketch with graphite mechanical pencils in a journal. I enjoy charcoal and Conte crayon too. I will also sketch with graphite directly on an oil painting in progress.
Sketching keeps my eye working. It helps to keep my work loose and more confident. I feel calm, peaceful and happy when sketching. I try to think of nothing. I feel less pressure and more freedom than when painting.
Although the feeling of my sketches relates to the finished work, many times the finished piece is different from the original idea. A sketch or a painting is always changing and will continue to change, as the model will, and as I will. Although it is not my intention that the sketch becomes a finished work of art, many times it does. I try to put the two together: freedom and finish.