Saturday, September 7, 2013

"A World With Stripes"

Oil, 24" x 36"

This is the second of my three paintings which will be at the impending Women Painting Women: (R)evolution show at Principle Gallery (opens September 19th, 2013).

I love stripes, not only for their graphic design possibilities, but for their symbolic aspect. Artists have been on to this for a long time. Much as been written about the mysterious way nature incorporates spirals into her work. You don't have to look far to see this - hold out your arm and see how your muscles spiral and alternate down your bones. (What, no muscles? How do you expect to win arm wrestling contests?)

Circles are also a powerful symbol of nature and rebirth and have been used by artists for centuries to explore various concepts. I'm fascinated by them too and I frequently paint circular pieces ("tondos"). (You could also say I'm "painting in circles", which may also be true.) Circles are also a powerful symbol of time (obviously referencing the analog clockface) and eternity.

This is in a way a still life, and to my mind, a form of vanitas, a reminder that earthly things will pass, time is short, all is transient, and all those other things you don't want to hear about.

The model is the lovely Cheyenne. We spent many hours on this painting. I learned a lot about my studio and where I have to back up to put models near this window (which turned out to be me smashed against the wall). I ended up painting the spiraled hoop from a photo since the repeating stripes drove me crazy and anyway, Cheyenne ended up moving out of town. She's wearing a selection of items from my costume closet, including a 1930's silk nightgown. Playing dress up with her was great fun all on its own.

Not everybody can be a good life model. The good ones understand somehow in their bones that there's an attitude that needs to be conveyed and they give it to you. Really, it's a form of acting, where you get beyond your self-consciousness. A good life model also displays impressive amounts of proprioception and can get back into the same pose after breaks. If you think this is easy to do, just try it sometime. If you are good at this, contact me, please.

Incidentally, you probably can't see this, but there's a circle within the circle, the locket on her necklace, which has a little rodent at the center - available from the wonderful painter Marina Dieul.

No comments: