In an effort to motivate and challenge myself as well as to share and show my work with others in (almost) real time, I will post here, every Monday by 11:59 PM, one new piece created that week (allowing myself two weeks off for my honeymoon). When the calendar rolls over to 2011 I will have posted a total of 50 pieces. Whew! No time to chat, gotta get to work!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Week 8. "Zeus and the Queen Bee" 30"x40"

"A queen bee from Hymettus flew up to Olympus with some fresh honey from the hive as a present to Jupiter, who was so pleased with the gift that he promised to give her anything she liked to ask for. She said she would be very grateful if he would give stings to the bees, to kill people who robbed them of their honey. Jupiter was greatly displeased with this request, for he loved mankind. But he had given his word, so he said that stings they should have. The stings he gave them, however, were of such a kind that whenever a bee stings a man the sting is left in the wound, and the bee dies. Evil wishes, like fowl, come home to roost." Aesop's fable, The Bee and Jupiter as translated by V. S. Vernon Jones.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Week 7. "Plato's Cave" 18"x24" oil on canvas

"Fear is the mind-killer" says Frank Herbert in his Sci-fi classic, Dune. In Plato's allegory of the cave, the people existing within the cave sit facing the walls with a fire burning behind them. They see only the shadows cast on the wall in front of them. One of them eventually escapes and leaves the cave. At first, the sunlight is painful to the eyes but the escapee adapts and for the first time witnesses sunlight, reality. Understanding the importance of the discovery the escapee returns to free the others who, when told about reality, shun the idea. Ever since I heard the allegory of the cave I've been infatuated with it. It readily lends itself to so many different possible interpretations. Plato's interpretation states that the people in the cave represent those without philosophy or education. The ignorant. There is an obvious spiritual aspect to the story as well. I feel that the lynchpin to the allegory is fear, or the overcoming of it. The chains that keep one in the cave are made of fear. Fear is the hysterical scream that tries to convince that truth is not there to be found, that love is a lie and that life has no point. Fear tells me that, even if I'm living in hell, in a horrible lie, at least I'm familiar with it. Often, fear screams all the louder the closer I get to letting it go. I find that eventually fear makes itself ridiculous. The shadows on the wall become obvious, flat and lifeless. I start listening to the whisper that's telling me that there's more...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Week 6. "The Field" 18"x24" oil on canvas

Often, I find that the most difficult thing about a painting is not what to put in, but what to leave out. With every piece I do I am always attempting to make it as universal as possible, meaning I'd like every human, from every part of the earth and of every age to be able to relate to the painting in some way. One of the techniques that I use to achieve this "universality" is to imply objects, people or places, but not to portray them in perfect detail (this also helps me to control what the viewer will focus on most and also, often, to create a sense of movement). Although the face in this piece is in detail, the world in which she inhabits could be anywhere at all; the flowers could be any flowers and the birds could be practically any type. What I'm doing here is asking the viewer to interact with the piece, to use his or her imagination to fill in the blanks. The piece does not tell you that those are roses behind her, but if you have a fondness for roses then that's what they will be. To someone else they may be wildflowers, or tulips, or carnations, or... So, even though the subject is specific, the field could be almost anywhere, it's an archetype, universal.
This is the second and final installment of the "Subject... My Wife" diptych. See Week 4 for the first part, "The Red Room".

Monday, February 1, 2010

Week 5. "Generations" 36"x48" oil on canvas

One of the things I hope to accomplish this year, while I push myself to finish a painting a week, is to create a series of work using "Icon of Nature, Part II" (see week 1 in this blog) as a starting point. This idea was foremost in my thought as I sought out what to paint for this week. What happened was that this image, almost fully fledged, appeared in my mind's eye and more or less demanded to be let out. I sketched it out and then turned it into a painting. There are some things that are similar to "Icon...partII" and some very real differences. The palette and the technique are the same. However, the figure in "Icon..." is practically godlike. She is of human dimensions and larger than life. She is serene in the midst of the cycles of life swirling around her. Here, however, the figures are very human. They are frail, small and subject to the passage of time. The earth around them seems to have become an ocean none too peaceful, but they seem to be on solid ground for the moment. Rain is coming soon or has just passed. Still, theirs' is a beautiful world. There is sunshine. Whatever may be in their past or in their future, they are able to enjoy the now. Shall they squirrel away their nuts or try for the light?