The travelling series continues and takes us into psychological landscapes. It is inescapable, as I stand at my easel and the news of the war in Ukraine plays in the background. I chose war symbols and hues from the past to construct this narrative. Again my palette is subdued with earthy tones of yellows and green. The child figure looks directly at something, perhaps you the viewer, with an ambiguous expression open to your interpretation and awaiting your finishing touches. There is a minimalist approach to the inclusion of the elements for each must have not only narrative significance but be visually compelling and enhance the composition. Paring down to the essential symbols is sometimes difficult as I let go of particularly beautiful images that do not contribute to the narrative. This too is true of the need to resist the impulse to keep rendering the details, for each tiny brushstroke moves me closer to a camera snapshot rather than an imaginary scene imbued with a dream-like quality. So with each painting in this series I am getting closer to “the heart of the matter”.
This is the second painting in the Travellers series. The palette is an earthy natural one which is my favourite choice for colour. Again, as in “The Travellers” both subjects look out to the viewer with minimal expression or gesture. The representational figures are definitely recognizable as woman and young zebra, however the painting does not push too far into realism but hovers in whimsical impression. The narrative is open to every viewer and interpretation. Take from it whatever you wish. “Passing By”, has a quirky sweetness and tells me to stay hopeful. For me there is a touch of melancholy about both figures and I am given no clues as to the ending of this narrative.
“Is there anybody there?” said the Traveller, Knocking on the moonlit door…..
from The Listeners
by Walter de la Mare
The Travellers is a 36 x 48 oil painting that went through a chaotic metamorphosis beginning as a circus theme and ending as a travelling narrative. Originally there was circus tents, floating jack rabbits and the unicycle rider was suspended in the air on a tight rope. There was this beautiful empty hot air balloon rising up in the background. So what happened. Sometimes I get too carried away with the beautiful pieces and forget to keep the focus on the big idea. In my excitement about the circus elements the unicycle rider was relegated to the background. I then realized that she was the key to the narrative and her fellow travellers all had parts to play. Note to self: Don’t get distracted by how beautifully I painted something but keep asking “what is this about?”