Monday, April 9, 2007

Recent oil paintings

Made In China
The severe expression of this small clothed doll
I found in a thrift shop captured my fancy--I imagined
I could feel the resentment of the assembly line
worker forced to paint an endless stream of these
small masked portraits.

Although I've been a complusive sketcher since childhood and have always drawn from life at every opportunity, over the last few years I've made time to paint for no other purpose than to express my own spirit. I've been fortunate in my illustration career to earn a living as a visual storyteller, and I love to bring a narrative to life through artwork, to animate and understand characters and explore their emotions and behavior in myriad situations. I expect to tell stories with artwork for the rest of my life, but I can't deny the intense pressure of creating vast amounts of intricate drawing under deadlines--often unreasonable ones--has lost the appeal it held in my eager adrenaline-charged youth. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m choosing projects carefully and arranging the rest of my affairs and responsibilities to allow me to give my best at a pace I can enjoy.
This improved schedule is also driven by the desire to draw and paint as a window to my intimations, to make visible my reactions to stimuli and experience free of the specific parameters that shape hired work.
The pictures above were painted from life over the last few years, usually during a brief respite from a pressing deadline. With each painting I am more amazed at the subtlety that can be expressed with oils—the medium draws forth ever more sensitive perceptions as you paint because it is so responsive to every whim and observation. Although I love watercolor and casein for the unique results possible with each, oil is the richest medium for the painter.