Friday, May 23, 2008

Contemplation





Here is my new doll, she is pose-able, 20” and she sits on her pedestal, deep in contemplation. I think she is meditating on the nature of creation:
“To create” seems to mean that from nothing you suddenly have something. I prefer to use the expression “manifestation” to the word “creation.” Look deeply, and you can understand creation in terms of manifestation. Just as we can understand a cloud as a manifestation of something that has always been there, and the rain as the end of the cloud manifestation, we can understand human beings, and even everything around us, as a manifestation that has come from somewhere and will go nowhere…I very much like the term “Wonderful Becoming.” It is close to the true meaning of creation.
~Thich Nhat Hanh
No Death, No Fear

Friday, May 16, 2008



Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about why I make art. Also, about why I make the kind of art that I do, which is mostly figure based. Last night I was reading a book called Spectacular Bodies: The art and science of the human body from Leonardo to now which deals with the convergence of anatomical models/diagrams and art. The author postulates that figurative art and medicine (and religion, for that matter) are very alike in that they are seeking to understand what it means to be human, to ‘Know Thyself,’ as the Greek aphorism goes.
I think that this is why I’m so fascinated with accurately depicting the human body. It’s like trying to figure out a piece of the puzzle. And maybe it is an act of appreciation - like the least I can do when confronted with such an awe-inspiring thing as a human being. But it’s not enough just to make a copy. The exterior must somehow describe the interior, or at least one facet or idea of it.
In this vein (no pun intended?), I’ve begun a new series of portraits that are in a traditional, Renaissance-like style of composed young women, but with jewelry that betrays something more visceral and fragile that is being kept inside. Like when someone shares something a little too honest for the situation - it is beautiful and true, but it makes everyone uncomfortable anyway. I like the idea of merging two traditional subjects, the portrait and the vanitas painting, in a way that is a bit unexpected and unsettling. The portraits are all about conveying wealth, power and beauty, whereas the vanitas paintings are all about conveying the unimportance and transitory nature of worldly things. Here is a 4x6” study for that series.
Also, here is a large (c. 3x4’) painting I just finished based on a dream I had of mushrooms and pear trees. I gotta look that one up in the dream dictionary, I guess. In the meantime, it looks good in my bedroom =)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Witch





So here's progress for this week. I'm building it up slowly - really trying to understand the anatomy as I go. I've been using some great sculpture books by Bruno Lucchesi as reference. I'm also doing some smaller dolls.
Mostly, I've been developing some new paintings - more on that next Friday!