Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Morning


This commission is one of those pictures that depending on your perspective and experiences you can have a totally different reaction than a person standing beside you. I always enjoy pieces like this - they ask the viewer to question the scenario and lets them come away with a pieced together event on how that scene came to be.

Who is this lady? How long has she been here? What sort of room is this? Did she consume the contents of the bottle? Why? Is she someone to love? Someone to hate? Someone to pity?

I really enjoyed painting her features, there are some complicated shadows and highlights that were challenging but I think well worth the result.

The overall size of this piece is 24" x 36" - quite striking in person.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pentecost


Okay, this painting is a departure from my usual stuff but I am experimenting with a few things right now. I started this piece on Easter, only working when I felt moved. Lo and behold - I finished today, Pentecost Sunday - 50 days later.

One thing I've mentioned before is my love of Byzantine mosaics, icons and all sorts of pre-Renaiassance Christian art. There are strong graphic elements, clear story telling and a directness to them are not found in art much nowadays. I also love how there are symbols common to many of these pieces which help describe people and ideas to the audience that they were designed for.

It wasn't unusual for God to be shown as a hand emerging from a cloud or the Holy Spirit being depicted as a Dove. When looking at a picture of the Disciples, you knew the man holding the key would probably be Peter. People who have halos are usually Saints, Martyrs or Major figures of the Bible.

Since a lot of these audiences were Pagan, so unfamiliar with Christian symbolism, you might find a mosaic of John the Baptist with a little figure holding an urn under the water - this would tell a non-Christian that they were talking about a river. The little figure would be a river god and the urn would contain the source of the flow. These sorts of elements would be not be meant to change the story of John the Baptist but rather be a translation to help the audience understand the scenario.

Although piece above has a lot of contemporary (almost cartoonish) elements, it actually shares quite a few similarities to paintings and mosaics done hundreds of years ago. Pentecost is one of those really interesting stories to illustrate because unlike other events where you can piece together the historic context, this has so many crazy supernatural elements to it, it is very difficult to describe in a two dimensional, frozen moment.

This is where the symbolism and lack of reality come in. By breaking down the elements into little pictograms and tying it together with unifying colours and composition, you can very easily tell the elements of the story. It doesn't matter that there is no background landscape of Jerusalem, no sky or landmarks. Those things are the least important parts of the story.

All you need to know is that the heavens were sending down tongues of fire to the people below - remembering a sermon or the passage in Acts would have a regular believer know that this was talking about Pentecost.

Anyways, long post for a small picture. I guess I got carried away there! Told you I had a slight obsession.

You can purchase this painting here.

Friday, May 02, 2008

When I'm an Old Lady

Okay, so lately I've been trying to decide what I want to look like when I'm an old lady. I figured its best to start laying the groundwork now so I don't startle my future grandchildren with the sudden transition.

First off, I don't want to look like an 80 year old who is pretending to be a 49 year old or even worse - a 29 year old. I don't mind wrinkles and whatnot. I've seen many beautiful women from most decades and the ones with the most charm are the ones who proudly show thier true age.

After much thought, I've narrowed it down. I could totally go either way. I think if you know me in real life, you would agree that either would be a good fit. I've considered my options carefully.

First Look - Neurotic Artist



This is that skinny old lady you see on the bus. She's wearing head to toe black, huge plastic "Roy Orbison" sunglasses, super artificial jet black hair with a bright red slash of lipstick from one side of her face to the other.

She seems pretty tough and outspoken but has a deep love for people who don't irritate her.

I figure for this look to work, I will start smoking again when I hit 80. By that time, the benefits of this rekindled hobby will far outweigh the negatives. I'll exist on nicotine, coffee, and art gallery openings.

Second look - Smiling Grandmother


This is that unflappable entirely lovable lady you see in the produce aisle. Always happy, always saying slightly unintelligible things to little children. You will usually find this kind of old lady has hair to her feet which she twists into towering displays featuring fresh cherry blossoms and plastic barettes.

She seems so sweet until she confesses at Bible study that sometimes people really annoy her.

If I go this route, I want to keep running. When I'm 80, that will finally be my time to qualify for the Boston Marathon and possibly place in my age group. I'll also put flax seeds and wheatgerm in all my baked goods.