Lost Generation – sold

Scan_20160506 (6)

Oil on canvas, 10″x8″

A portrait of a moody flapper in a cafe. I experimented with using cooler, bluer colors than usual for the flesh tones in this painting. I wanted to imply her ghostly pallor and the smoky haze of a bar back in the day.

Perhaps she’s waiting for a date who’s late or thinking about the boy who never came back from the war. Or maybe she’s just wondering what she lost in herself and how she ended up here. I’ve always been fascinated by the Lost Generation, the seemingly dissolute and world-weary survivors of the Great War who partied their way through Europe in the 1920s. This girl could be Lady Brett Ashley or Nicole Diver, those enigmatic and compelling characters created by Hemingway and Fitzgerald, the feminine personifications of that confused, hedonistic era. These memorable women weren’t the most admirable in literature but the flawless seldom haunt.

Portrait of a French Girl – sold

frenchgirl

Oil on hardboard panel, 8″x6″

This is another of my portraits of imaginary people from the past. Don’t ask me why she’s French, that just seemed to come to mind as I was painting her. She was a difficult girl to paint, elusive, challenging, different. The paint didn’t want to stay where I put it on the board but it created some interesting effects. She was painted in one very long session and the slippery quality of the paint made the brushwork rather distinct. It’s an unusual look but I decided to go with it. The colors didn’t blend quite like I’m used to but it retained a fresh, wet appearance even after drying.

As she emerged from the chaos of the painting she brought to mind smokey Parisian cafes, red wine and existentialist conversations. Mysterious, with a hint of deep passions, I could imagine a girl like this holding the attention of the Lost Generation.

Portrait of a Glamour Girl – sold

glamgirl

Oil on canvas, 10″x8″

Some things never go out of style. A certain sleek elegance was achieved in the the early 20th century that’s simply timeless. She is not any particular person, but my evocation of the glamour girl of that era, beautiful, classic and charming.

 

 

Flapper in a Cloche Hat – sold

browncloche

Oil on hardboard panel, 8″x6″

There is a certain intensity to this girl. She’s a bit fierce. This may be a result of the slickness of the board surface that results in the paint strokes keeping a certain edge. This makes for a bold look that’s a bit different from my work on canvas. I’m not sure I have complete control of the paint on this surface yet but I like some of the accidental results.

Flappers tended to be dramatic. They were in rebellion against traditional rules of modesty for women, wore a lot of makeup and clothing that scandalized the polite society of their era…this is why I find them to be a fascinating subject for paintings.

Portrait of a Dance Hall Girl – sold

dancehall

Oil on hardboard panel, 8″x6″

This painting is another in a series of what I think of as “creative portraits”. They aren’t any existing person but are usually inspired by old B&W photos and stories of the past. They start to take on a life of their own as I paint and become about an imaginary character and mood.

This girl reminded me of the taxi-dance girls in the dance halls of the 1920s and 30s. Paid a dime a dance, it was a somewhat scandalous yet relatively lucrative profession for young women in an era where opportunities were limited. I think anyone who was able to make a living that way had to be tough yet charming. This girl looks like she’s got a lot of spunk and wouldn’t take any nonsense from drunken louts.

Portrait of a Blonde Flapper – sold

daisy

Oil on canvas, 10″x8″

Although she’s decidedly a girl of the 1920s, while painting this one she started to remind me a bit of Botticelli’s Madonnas. The Cestello Annunciation in particular…maybe something about her golden hair and sweet but uncertain expression. So I went with a hint of Renaissance colors in the coral red of her outfit and the faded blue of the background.

Portrait Study of a Young Man – sold

jd

Oil on canvasboard, 10″x8″

This is a quick portrait study I did of a beautiful young man with dreamy eyes. He has a renaissance look about him so painted him with something of a Caravaggio flavor. I liked how it turned out so I might persuade this model to pose for me as Bacchus one day.

 

Portrait of a Redhead – sold

Redhead

Oil on hardboard panel, 10″x8″

Playing with color again. The starting point for this painting was an old black and white photo so that left a lot of room for invention. I’m not sure where the red hair came from but she seemed to want to be a redhead and it was fun to paint.

I’m finding that conveying emotion is increasingly important to me in these “portraits”. Even though they are largely invented from my imagination they also seem to create themselves and have their own personalities. Happily, I’m starting to relax with this odd feeling that I’m not in complete control and trusting what emerges in my paintings.

Portrait of a Girl in Pink – sold

pinkpic (2)

Oil on hardboard panel, 7″x5″

Experimenting with mood, expression and color combinations. Trying to create a completely new painting frequently is quite a challenge but I enjoy when I find it taking me in different directions. I’m finally finding myself departing from tight realism and evolving a more fluid and personal style which has long been an elusive goal. I’m still a realist painter and interested in depicting a person rather than a cartoon (not that there’s anything wrong with that, just not something I want to do) but in this case I’m happy to find a touch of whimsy and personality.

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