Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Let Her Sleep

When I attended art college we did a "blindfold" exercise.  The class was standing, with over-sized pads of paper on easels before us.  Our fingers grasped chunks of charcoal (its like the artist's beginner weapon -- they feel if we waste/destroy charcoal not much will be wasted at all).  The instructor turned on a concerto piece, of which I can't remember now, but she told us to close our eyes and put medium to the paper.  She told us to draw what we heard.  To press down when the music was intense, but to lift up when the music was pianississimo.  I was enjoying the project, and my curiosity grew the further into the composition we went because there was both -- soft, slow parts, and then there was a staccato, allegro section, followed by a bold fortississimo.  My drawing -must- have been so dynamic and I felt my 8 years of playing clarinet, listening to the different sounds of each horn, gave me an advantage.  That was when the instructor casually meandered by my easel and said "Ooh... we have an Expressionist here".  My eyes widened, and I couldn't help but look at my lines.  They were all thick and dark.  I had felt my hand lighten its grasp on the charcoal in the soft moments of the music, and I had pulled back from the paper, but my bold streaks were indeed just that -- BOLD.  They over-powered my soft streaks.  But the drawing was still beautiful.  The dark, thick inky streaks followed a pattern on the page and as I looked around the room at the end of the assignment, I realized my paper was the darkest of all of them.  I was a bold expressionist.

But I knew then that I always had been.  When looking at past paintings I really painted in that expressionism tone: what I saw/painted was subjective to how I felt.  Distorted lines and shapes, exaggerated colors are used for an emotional impact.  I am proud to be an expressionist, sharing the category with Vincent Van Gogh, Kirchner, and Munch.

So now, when I complete a painting, I am not surprised when it takes me a different direction than that of which I originally anticipated.  I am currently in the middle of one that is throwing me for a loop.  Of course I can't show you that one until I'm finished, but here is my last piece:

Let Her Sleep
Dimensions: 4' x 4'
Main Theme: Childhood, and lavishing in childish imagination
Pop Culture: My daughter’s figure as seen on her nighttime monitor, and the Sandy Hook shooting
Quote: “Let her sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world”. – Napoleon Bonaparte
Song: Perpetuum Mobile by the Penguin Café Orchestra

Summary: This painting was influenced greatly by childhood and the idea of supporting a child’s imagination, growth, and innocence. My daughter’s sleeping figure established the basic lines and shapes of the painting, of which are not easily seen as it’s an abstract expressionistic piece. Her nightly dreams and her evolving imagination touched me and inspired the bright colors and the varying textures. The painting’s distinct contrasting colors, and some of the brighter shades, were added after the Sandy Hook shooting occurred. Having the news event in my mind as I painted gave it a sense of urgency. Every day with a child is a day to influence their imaginations, and to find a way to make their lives magical. As if the painting started out as my daughter’s dream, it ended up as the dreams of the 20 children who lost their lives on 12/14/2012. The painting was not meant to be a melancholy portrait, but more of a depiction of a child’s dream with the sense of urgency to let it be. The time when imagination is magical is short-lived.

If you would like to commission a painting, please send me a message or email.  Depending on the cost of paint and canvas the prices range from $75 - $250+.