Friday, October 28, 2011
I'm working on a bit of a different kind of painting subject matter wise. Of course birds are definitely part of the urban environment. I just haven't focused on them. The piece is called Minority. It's not political, but there is a bit of a sociological aspect to the work. The title came to me last night when I was working on it. I noticed how the people in the scene were completely out numbered by the birds, but towered over them all the same. I feel that human beings have a tendency to think that they are the only life on the planet that matters. This is the result of our might thanks to our intellect.
The idea for the painting was really another - wake up at 2AM in the morning and find a sketchbook to sketch and write it out. I proceeded to spend two hours running around the park taking photographs of birds and the figures within the painting latter that morning. It was odd how you'd find a bunch of pigeons with one or two grackles or a bunch of grackles with only a few pigeons. The grackle in the foreground was the bravest bird when I was dolling out a quarter of my bagel to the lot. Need to pay your models. He would come up close and give me this quizzical look as if to ask "what are you up too?". Oddly enough the composition took on a life of it's own and departed greatly from the original sketch. Not that I can say I mind, because it's better for it. It proved to be one of the more challenging compositions that I've created of late. The physical difference between birds and humans along with the point of the view proved to be a real challenge.
I'm relieved that this work is going well. I've had two weeks of paintings just not going right. I guess I've been "painting myself into a corner" as Bob Cocke one of my old painting professors used to call it. Although, it's incredibly important for an artist to create problems on the canvas to work through in order to grow: I would rather just paint happily and save the growth spurt for a latter day. Too bad it doesn't always work out that way. I like to think I'm in control of the work and maybe I am on a subconscious level, but not on a conscious level. It gives the illusion that the paintings are calling the shots. I think it's like playing a chess game against yourself where you are really playing to win and only make one move a day, so that you can truly play the opponent's role in earnest. It's easy to get stalemated and that's what happens with some canvases. It just takes a while to realize the gig is up.