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 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.

 

Nude in a Red Chair – sold

Redchair

Oil on hardboard panel, 7″x5″

While painting this one I focused on the angles and the light falling across the figure. It’s a serene seated pose but I like the energy produced by the various angles of the arms and legs. The unusual vintage chair and the paneled interior add to the timeless charm of this painting.

This model is just as naked as the one in my previous painting, Standing Male Nude, but so far no one who’s seen it has had any discomfort with her body or level of nudity. Everyone also seemed to think that my earlier female nude, Woman in Bathtub – sold was just a nice painting. It’s a minor thing but interesting to me that male bodies seem to trigger a reaction of mild discomfort, even in a painting, whereas a female nude is seen as pretty standard stuff.

Standing Male Nude – sold

Standingman

Oil on hardboard panel, 12″x9″

This painting is a classic figure study. Figurative subjects are my favorite and I love the challenge of painting nudes. Especially male nudes as they tend to have more defined musculature. There are few things more difficult to paint than the human body and I have to admit that the contrapposto stance gave me some trouble…but I think I pulled it off.

I was told by a male friend that I made the penis too large in this painting. I wasn’t trying to be shocking or make a statement here, the model’s penis just happens to be on the large side. But this comment made me wonder, do artists have to “tone down” that part of the body or risk having it come off as erotica? It’s just a normal part of a human body, why is there so much baggage? If a female model happens to have large breasts is it somehow more tasteful or artistic to shrink those? I spent a lot of time in art school drawing whoever happened to be naked in front of me on the model stand, did this throw me out of alignment with what regular people see in a nude? Obviously there’s no answer to the various questions that occurred to me but it does make me wonder….

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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Woman in a Blue Bikini – sold

 

BBikini (3)

Oil on hardboard panel, 7″x5″

This painting expresses the essence of a beautiful day at the beach…the brilliant light, sharp shadows and dazzling colors of sea and sand. I like how the golden hue of the sand and the cool blues of the water are echoed in the girl’s hair and skin and bright turquoise bikini.

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Woman in the Waves – sold

WaveWoman

Oil on gessoboard panel, 7″x5″

I like the hesitant quality of this woman’s stance as she looks out at the water. The water might be a bit cold or the waves look a little rough and she’s just not ready to dive in. I also enjoyed that first day at the beach sunburn on her shoulders which pops against the cool tones of the foam and contrasts with her still-pale lower half. I’d be quite happy to be sunburned on a warm beach right now.

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