The trope of the nude in the landscape continues and will continue for several more posts. The long horizontals of this and, the previous posts lend themselves to landscape. It’s the same fainting couch as before. It represents an homage to all the great reclining figures of art history from Titian to Velasquez to Manet to Matisse and all the others in between and after. The landscape comes from my surroundings. I count myself fortunate enough to live in a beautiful place. I pinch myself everyday just to make sure I’m not dreaming!
The figure and painting have fallen on hard times in recent years. The rarefied art world, for the rarefied few artist who can be counted as part of it, has decided the figure and painting just won’t do anymore. Painting is dead, they say, and the figure along with it. It can’t compete with new media. It is a leftover from the past. It’s retrograde.
I’m not buying it. People have been obsessed the human image for 40,000 years. It’s not going to go away just because some art guru has decided it has. The desire to hand make things with the greatest care and craft is so much a part of human nature that the act of painting an image won’t go away either. Human beings are the only creatures who make things with the aesthetic in mind. Things we make must be pleasing to the eye and hand, or satisfy a need to communicate, or express a particular emotional state.
What many call a frill is an integral part of what makes us human. And, we partake of it all the time. We rely on the arts and the artists who create for them. Think of all the images and videos and music we see and hear on a daily basis. Someone had to conceptualize and make them! Some well done and others not. But the wealth of art available to us should be appreciated. So go out and appreciate all that art. Appreciate all those artists. You need it, and them, to make life more livable.
View to the North
Watercolor on Masa Paper, 14.5×5.25″
I’ve already stated my opinion that an artist’s environment cannot help but find its way into the work. My backyard is surrounded by woods that are, in some places, pretty dense. This is a slice of the view out my back window. It’s an ash tree at the wood’s edge with a blue spruce and a variety of I-don’t-know-whats thrown in by Mother Nature.
It is also my opinion that subject matter for art is everywhere, You do not have to go to exotic places to find things to paint. You do not even have to leave the house. Switch your painter’s brain on and you’ll find little arrangements of things that a very suitable for art.
In my beginning drawing classes I had my students draw eggs. Oh they hated me for it but it sure taught them to find ways to make those little bland packages interesting. I told them they were film directors and the eggs were their actors. They had to create the set, set decorations and provide the special effects. Those drawing began as blah and ended up spectacular!
So go outside your door and find subjects that have been waiting for you to select them for your models. Your might surprise yourself with the results.
Here is another painting in the theme of the figure in the landscape. This woman is so beautiful and very athletic looking without being an athlete. She works very hard, physically, doing a thankless job. But, she manages to come and model for us even after a hard day’s work. This reclining pose was the last pose of the evening and she could take a slightly more comfortable position. I gave her a serene setting of moon rise over calm waters. I am very pleased with this for the 15 minutes allotted. The surroundings were done the next day at home.