“No Mercy In My Sleep” is an oil pastel & acrylic painting on paper- I have really been enjoying working this way recently. There is no surface preparation, such as in canvas or board- I just start drawing & painting right onto the watercolor block (tablet of heavy cotton paper stacked & seamed in plastic around the perimeter to restrict the paper from warping). I’m up and going instantly, and I’ve combined my love of drawing and painting in a seemingly more immediate fashion. Either that or it comes easier due to the excitement of working in a different way, smearing my fingertips into the oil pastel marks I left, forgoing discipline of the brush and embracing the urge of creation… making marks… playing…
I created “No Mercy” hastily one recent morning after a rather gory nightmare that shook me deeply. Clear your head & heart before you lay down to sleep.
In observation of change, the passing of time, & things forgotten: a few words on my painting, “Oh Restless Night”…
“Oh Restless Night” was made at the same time as “Cut Me in Two”, during a rigorous jag of mixed media experimentalism in 2004. I was painting on several pieces on plywood at the same time in preparation for a show at Randy Bacon Gallery in Springfield, Mo, where the local art scene has really started to shape up nicely- I hope to show there again next year. Anywho, this painting was one of several pieces I created on some really rough looking scrap chunks of plywood to great effect. The edges are jagged and layered heavily with gesso & acrylic color. It hangs freely on the wall without frame, and the verso/hanging hardware is set up so it “floats” just off the wall. I enjoyed thepresentation of these frameless paintings, though the edges are a little vulnerable to damage- I varnished them heavily for extra protection, and to bring a little extra surface unity to all the mixed media elements. “Oh Restless Night” is one of a few that I used star-shaped rhinestones on, and the figure is painted atop two scraps of an old towel gessoed down to the plywood. Some protested to the use of such cheesy/flashy elements in my work, but the colored rhinestones, glitter, & heavy gloss varnish was fun to play with, and I sold this one immediately to a girl who identified with the subject matter due to her experiences with insomnia! Ha! She also thought it was pretty.
What brought me to the creation, I cannot remember- perhaps I too was experiencing some restless nights myself… I just don’t recall the emotion, though it was taken from a drawing in one of my sketchbooks. What’s funny in the immediate sense, however, is the fact that just yesterday I finally purchased a proper & luxurious mattress set from Weekends Only, ridding myself of the preposterous & sunk-in twin I have been sleeping on for 13 YEARS! It’s a quality-of-life-thing people.
Girl Next Door
acrylic, paper collage om plywood, 2003
Girl Next Door examines how we pass each other in life every day- even live a few feet away without knowing anything about one another. The doe-eyed girl on the left listens lovingly to the artist singing to his paintbrush in the next apartment, the subject of the painting on his easel covering her ears, signifying his misdirected affections. While he longingly paints the beauty next door, she is oblivious of being the subject of his unrequited love, and he is unaware that his love songs tug at her heart. Her teddy bear symbolizes the affections and comfort of a man missing in her life, as the squashed paint tube under the artist's boot becomes a metaphor for the tragic comedy of his situation- as well as a humorous reference to his frustration of unfulfilled physical love.
…there are a couple of fat little mourning doves that like to roost on abranch near my 2nd floor deck. I saw them again at the beginning of myvacation last week, snuggling in the morning sun. Some time ago I had resolved to immortalize them in a drawing, but never got around to it, so when I saw them again this year (I’m pretty sure it was the same couple because of the way they perch together), I thought why not now? My original idea was to portray them finding me buried in leaves outside (based on a strange dream I had years ago), but I just let the drawing happen, and it turned out the way it turned out. It is unusual for me to use oil pastel in combination with acrylic paint,but it serves my layered aesthetic & propensity for mixed media quite nicely. I’m doing another piece in this fashion currently.
Mourning doves were originally named the Carolina turtle dove by thenaturalist/painter John James Audubon, in his famous Birds of America. Their diet is 99% seeds, with a rare insect or snail, and they swallow a little sand or fine gravel to aid in their digestion.They are prolific breeders, and while their clutch size is almost always a mere two eggs, they may raise up to six broods a year. They are also monogamous and form strong pair bonds. They have a large population in a vast range, from Central America to Canada, and are one of the most common birds in North America. Audubon was trained in artistry by the uber-famous neo classicist painter Jacques-Louis David, by the way. You learn something everyday.