Its taken a year,, perhaps a little more, but finally the first series is done!.. When I think back to the first painting, Atlantis, I went crazy with paint and scraper fully confident that whatever the result, it was going to be good. Then I had the bright idea to put in a fish and over it paint a leaping dancer the explanation being movement in symbiosis. From this random thought I found I liked the idea of disciplined form contrasting with abstract and enjoyed watching how colours transcended form allowing the background to become part of the central figure.
The second painting in the series was Movement in Sea Minor which followed this format.
Then came Melting Moment and I was beginning to find my groove. I had come to realise I didn’t need the fish to tell the story, although to be honest, at the time I wasn’t sure what it was I was trying to say. It didn’t matter though, I had discovered the wonder of dripping paint and the wonderful effects of its meanderings. I was so excited, I decided to do it again with the next painting.
Leap of Faith was an experimentation in gaining control of the abstract. The intention was to work around the figure, extending the line of movement through abstract lines. Must admit, I struggled on many levels, the abstract hadn’t worked as I had planned and the figure was challenging to say the least. The sense of achievement once it finally came together was almost euphoric. There was a sense of self congratulatory empowerment, my skills at accurately drawing a figure had improved exponentially and I had learnt how the background can work for or against the topic.
My next lesson came in an unusual manner. The inspiration for ‘Hang On’ was found on facebook. It was a photo of a dancer ready to leap off the floor, his body arranged in very interesting almost impossible angles but it was the angle of his head which captured my attention and I had to paint it.. As usual, I set to with abstract scrapers and swirls carefully working around the sketched figure and found to my delight he had a shadow giving the work another dimension. I was coming to understand the benefits of working in the abstract, how happy accidents can add to the story.
Inspiration can come from anywhere. I had found a photo of dancers in pas de deux on the web and with this image fresh in my mind, I went on to do some research on a topic totally unrelated.. Real Estate. I was looking at a beachfront property and in the photo was a wave, fully rounded with a surfer in its curve.. (don’t know the surfing term). This was to be the next painting,, The Wave.
I had two canvases both of similar size, taking one I got handy with the paints and scraper and scratched out a wave. The effect was stunning, giving a three dimensional effect, the colour and movement adding to the story of the figures.
Taking the second canvas, I repeated the exercise just to make sure I had it right.. and yep, was encouraged. This became Jondalar
I was beginning to feel confident about the direction my work was taking.
I had been getting comments about the nudity of my studies, and I was wondering if my focus on the human anatomy detracted from the story I was trying to tell. With this in mind, I found a photo of a dancer in diaphanous skirt and boob tube and got to work. The abstract was relatively easy, and for that matter so was the figure, but when it came time to put clothes on her, it became clear that flowing fabric would detract from the lines of leg, and body. I had come to understand my focus was not gratuitous, rather, it is an appreciation of the human form and the beauty of natural line. This work was titled ‘In the Pink’
Man and Child has had many lives. Started somewhere between Hang On and The Wave this work was a lesson in the learning. Once again, I had found a photo which screamed paint me!. With little thought to the story I took to the paints and scraped in the premis in abstract. With the idea of moving away from analogous colour I wanted to paint the figure in a warm maroon. It became apparent this wasn’t going to work. He looked like a skinned rabbit..not a good look… With the success of Jondalar I decided to use the same flesh tones. I hoped the painting was done.. But it wasn’t to be, for some reason, the story still wasn’t being told. I had the characters, but no plot. Days later I was thinking about nothing in particular when I happened to glance at the painting languishing on the easel in the corner of the studio. I saw what I should have seen weeks before. The painting is about fecundity, the precious cradling of new life. I had found my story and the answers came easily.
The last painting in this series was a minor triumph, Dancing Through the Blue. Abstract is in tune to the dancers movement, the soft silver of his body harmonises with the tonal qualities of the abstract. A wonderful ending to a long, happy experience, this, the first series of paintings about the relationship between abstract of movement and the wonderful control of the human form.
Prints and Greeting Cards are available at Fine Art America.