Oil painting inspired by Vieira da Silva (30" x 40")
In 2004 Nicole and I drove from northern Portugal across Spain to Barcelona where we discovered the paintings of Vieira da Silva. She achieved a sense of speed through vast space using only a high key palette. Upon returning to my studio, the impact of seeing her work was reflected in a series of paintings. The painting illustrated here currently hangs next to my bed. If all my paintings except for one were to be destroyed, this is the one I would choose to be saved.
Last Sunday, while standing in the center of a large gallery in the Philadelphia Museum of Art staring, as if for the first time, at Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase I experienced short flashes of the painting above as well as the drawing illustrated below. I had seen Duchamps’ Nude several times before. Though I liked it, I didn’t feel a close connection with it. That was prior to my Zakar Art and my Orb Journal Entries. That was also prior to my recent John Ruskin Exercises. The moment must have been right, an overlapping of influences that caused a perfect storm within me as I felt myself overwhelmed by Duchamp’s painting.
In hopes of a better understanding of my reaction, I gazed back and forth between Nude Descending a Staircase and the paintings in that gallery, many that I also responded strongly to. Duchamps painting, in my judgement, far surpassed the others that attempted to depict a degree of form within the broken down shapes of objects. Duchamps shapes moved freely, connected yet mobile, through an illusion of expansive space.
Figure turning 360 degrees
During the same period of time that I was painting the series inspired by Vieira da Silva, I had returned to the study of anatomy so that I could moved figures through space without being limited by the pose of a model. Just as I captured the movement of a dancer in the quick strokes of my Zakar Art, I wanted to depict a figure’s movement in a more rendered image that represented a series of positions. I wanted the effect of layering positions atop one another as if one were to layer the photographs of Edward J. Muybridge.
The John Ruskin exercises have taken me full circle back to my roots, roots that I had not acknowledged. Though I still don’t see the entire picture, it is becoming clearer. The Orbs are the link. The Ruskin exercises have led me back to the orb Journal Drawings, developing another skill to explore further. I have a long way to go and I’m excited about the journey. I feel that my diversity is no longer holding me back as I jump from one medium to another and one genre to another. Through my diversity I am approaching something deeper, closer to my core, that I will soon express through my drawings and paintings.
The drawings below depict this morning’s orb sketch as it developed. It was drawn with a medium nib, Waterman fountain pen. It could go further, but it won’t. It’s a beautiful, sunny day and I’m going to paint outdoors.