Introducing Marlene (Galapagos’ Pinzon Island Tortoise 36″ x 36″), Olivia (Jaguar 16″ x 16″) and Oscar (Sumatran Orangutan 16″ x 16″).
As an artist, I depend on my work to lead me. This is often easier said than done. The only way I know to make this happen is to work, then work some more, then work some more. After a while (when I am lucky), the work itself tells me what to do next. The three years I spent painting firefighters and relocating my home turned out to be an enormous interruption in the flow of my work. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. All that experience painting made me a better painter, and more critical of my own painting.
After finally resettling here in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, I first resurrected some old paintings that were prepped but never finished, and finished them. And I created sculptures, including my World’s Best Encyclopedia series. I had absolutely no inclination to continue with the story paintings I had worked on for so many years before I left Boulder and really no idea what I did want to paint.
So in early 2013 I resurrected my old Animal Alphabet project just to begin painting something again. After doing about 15 little “sketch” paintings on 8″ x 10″ canvas boards, the paintings began to lead me. Focus on endangered species. Make them portraits of INDIVIDUAL animals, not generic animals representing their species. Present them emerging from (or retreating into) deep shadow. Through the act of painting, serve as their advocate.
While I am painting representationally, I am not a photo-realist, nor do I have any interest in being one. There are many many painters whose technique I admire and study, but I do not particularly aspire to be technically brilliant as a painter. At the moment I only aspire to the skills I need to deliver the results I want. The results I want are to channel the dignity and the POWER of the animals I am painting.
In progress and soon to be photographed are a clouded leopard, Indian tiger, California condor, black rhino and silverback gorilla.
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