The Model 16x20 acrylic
At times, inspiration for a painting begins with a fleeting image of a moment in time: a setting sun, a flash of sunlight framed in a dark foreground. But not always. Sometimes the process starts with a dialogue between myself and my painting as I work. The discussion will continue until I reach a conclusion about ‘what I really want to say’ – the words echoing in my ear from Cape Ann, Mass. master painter and teacher, Charles Movalli. When I arrive at that point I rethink the composition, rearrange detail to fit the message – the statement.
The painting Model 16x20 acrylic is a good example. As I sketched the model during a recent life-drawing session, I intuitively placed the figure on the left of the canvas, awkwardly facing away from the centre - as if she was either drawn towards the light or conversely, repelled by the sight of the jumble of easels and art work to the right. Gradually the distractions from other artists painting the same poise dissolves. I focus on the model, sensing that her stoic, carefully held poise is solely for my benefit. The peripheral casually-stacked studio easels become immaterial: their presence noted, but subjugated to the developing painting statement.
In that moment, highlighted by the natural light, the model appeared to rise above the creative activity and studio clutter surrounding her. I had found what it was that I was trying to express.
Much later, satisfied that the painting was truthful to how I felt about the subject, I signed it.