Recently, I completed a couple of larger pieces in my Afro series.
I’m especially happy to have finally finished this one.
FRO 74 has gone through many different stages. and I probably could have finished it awhile ago. At one point, I seriously considered abandoning it but I’m glad that I decided to push through. Sometimes, what creates a challenge to completing a piece, especially large ones, is changing my intentions midstream.
Initially, I thought FRO 74 would be a larger version of FRO 79. And even though it was based on 79, I wanted it to be different. That shift in gears caused the piece to take longer than I expected. Somewhere in the process of painting FRO 74, I decided to tilt her head to the side which felt more natural and elegant than her pose in FRO 79.
I ended up blocking off her face so I could work on the background without having the face be a distraction and also to avoid the temptation to rework it.The background probably changed more than any other part of the painting. I also considered cutting it apart and re-configuring the whole thing as I’ve done with work in the past but decided against it when I caught a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. As I said earlier, I'm really happy that I stuck with it because the final piece exceeds my expectations.
FRO 74 38"x48", mixed media on paper, 2017
FRO 74 (detail)
Next, PUBLIC PERSONA started off a little different and it’s process to completion was more straightforward. I began with the idea of creating a portrait that engaged the viewer directly…
more so than this smaller version.
At each stage, I enjoyed changing the configuration of her facial features as each micro-movement gradually changed her appearance. Much more than AFRO 74, this piece evolved quickly. I believe I was driven forward by the knowledge of what did not work in it’s smaller, sister version above. Her gaze is meant to evoke the moment when one unexpectedly catches a glimpse of their reflection in a mirror, caught in between thoughts; a universal, perhaps soul catching moment. My hope is to have viewers see themselves in the painting even if they are of different gender, age, race or complexion. Also, working at this size allowed me to experiment with collage in the details of her eyes and mouth.
"Public Persona" mixed media 37x35 in, 2017
More to come soon.