Saturday, June 12, 2010

Girl Reading, Pacific Beach

"Girl Reading, Pacific Beach" 24 x 26 inches, oil on canvas

A while back, I posted my preliminary drawing for this painting. It's finally finished. The process involved a new method I'm using to help me include the figure within my new works.

But before I get into how I did the painting, let's talk about the why. Every painting of mine includes personal meaning, but I hope that the image resonates with the viewer in an archetypal way. I feel the purpose of my work is to depict my own story, but it's not necessarily important to understand in order to enjoy the work. When I was still a teenager, 18 years old, I moved out of my parent's house and lived close to this particular neighborhood in Pacific Beach. I spent most of my time in study, although I lived in the midst of a party town, and I somehow managed to stay out of trouble... honest! So this painting depicts the kind of ideal fantasy girl that I never met there at the time, a good girl engrossed in her studies.

As for how I did this painting, I was initially inspired when I was visiting the New York Public Library and viewed their WPA era murals... I wanted to do my own library painting. At first, my idea was to depict a girl sitting and reading under a tree, but as I went out in search of the perfect tree to use for my painting, I found this beautiful repetative long line of palms in the old Pacific Beach neighborhood. In this particular view, I liked how the long fence complemented those palms, as well as the long pose of the reclining figure I had in mind. These three elements somehow divided the piece into thirds. Then, I worked up a kind of classical composition creating a big triangle or pyramid as the overall center of the piece... do you see it?

As I transferred my drawing to canvas and began the painting, my friend, Aron Wiesenfeld, pointed out that the palms lining the background were a little too monotonous. I changed them in this final painting, so it does differ from my preliminary drawing.

Speaking of my pal Aron Wiesenfeld, I just got back from his opening exhibition at the Bakersfield Museum of Art...

Saturday, June 05, 2010


"Girl on Bridge", 24 x 24 inches, oil on canvas.

I have been trying a different approach to my working methods. My next scheduled exhibition with K. Nathan Gallery will be late in the year, and I've been working on 10 pieces all at once. Every painting will include the figure. "Girl on Bridge" is the first one that I have finished.

Last year, I was out with two of my private students sketching on location by the beach close to Del Mar, and we found ourselves seeking shade from the sun under North Torrey Pines Bridge. I drew the old bridge there in my sketchbook from this angle. Later at the studio, in thinking how I might incorporate a figure, I doodled a girl sitting there on the bridge. I liked the graphic quality of the sketch. And I felt that the figure gave the image some tension. The more I thought about it, I felt that the underbelly of that bridge expressed a degree of psychological symbolism... the shadows of the unconscious under this massive structure.