J.M. Barrie

8"x8" oil on panel Well, let's chalk this one up as another one of Raymond's, "I thought I showed this to you before, no?" paintings. We can also chalk this one up as a "Wow. Look at that guy's misshapen coconut." paintings I have done. As humans, we have a general idea of what the human form "should" look like. I could be snobby and say that artists have a particularly acute sensibility, but I think we all pretty much have it. As evidence of this general sensibility, I offer up the proof that my own planetary orb scares the heck out of small children and even smaller dogs whenever I unveil it in public. Even a toy poodle or a snotty two-year-old knows that something is aesthetically wrong here, and they run away screaming to mommy. (And no, I do not think it has anything to do with my personality.) This sensibility can really mess up an artist. When confronted with somebody like Mr. Barrie here with his conflicting facial angles, or worse, someone with a table top cranium like Edgar Allan Poe, we can—on an almost subconscious level—start to correct these features as we paint. These corrective impulses creep in when that freight train of a forehead gets a little smaller or that eye that seems to be located somewhere up in Alaska starts to slide its way down into the more "ideal" level position with the other eye—closer to Seattle say, than Anchorage. This, of course, sabotages the painting by washing away the subject's unique characteristics. It is a constant battle waged over the course of a painting. I cannot tell you how many eyes—sometimes the ONLY part of a painting that might be working for me at the time—that I have had to scrape off or goo over and repaint due to this inherent desire to correct the human form. It may be awful pretty, but if it is in the wrong position, we must be willing to destroy. And the fact that we have to destroy the element makes it seem even more beautiful than it really is, but just get in there and nuke it and move on. Sorry for the loquacious commentary, but Mr. Poe's expansive forehead really did freak me out when I encountered it on the easel. Oh, I almost forgot. I have included a little shot of a commissioned piece I recently did of Abraham Lincoln. Talk about a person who had wonderfully unique characteristics—inside and out. 

Posted February 6, 2015

sold • private collection pasadena, ca

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