Curious Psychology - figure, portrait, environment
The observing of people in their everyday environment offers endless studies of psychology for painting. As people go about their lives their gestures, expressions, and motions reveal deep thoughts. People in the middle of work may show intense focus or repetitive production, which hints at humble mastery of work; a contented meaningful fulfillment of the hour. On the other hand, people at rest or relaxing can be comfortable or torturous depending on the unseen thoughts and the deep feelings of the heart.
Expressions and gestures result from the emotions and thoughts of the person, especially during those moments when the person assumes they are unobserved. I seek to paint the moments or ‘captures’ of unknown observations and that curious knowledge of the deep humble things of the heart fleetingly visible on the face and through the movements and gestures of the body.
Working with oil as my main substrate I explore the balance of visible and smooth brushwork while building contrasts of value, texture, hue, and temperature on the canvas. The brush allows for variation in texture, directional movement, edges, drawing, and quick adjustments. My main subject is people: their face, gesture, figure, and expression coupled with the environment that relates and informs. Hands and feet gestures often reveal hidden emotions and inform and support the main thought. I find using the figures’ environment in my paintings allows me to delve into the interaction of the figure with their objects and surroundings not only in the overall theme but also in light and color relationships.
Examples of my oil work begin in the Japanese Potters series, specifically in Yonahara San, a humble satisfaction of a master potter, the owner and teacher of his factory, can be seen. In the Mother/Daughter series, such as in Becoming and Sasha, the female figure and portrait focus on that curious position either as a mother or a daughter. The Friend, part of the Life and Lands of the West body of work, reveals the contentment of a cowboy with his horse, a highly physical mode of work.
At times I go back to the drawing board and work in charcoal, conté, and pastel. I use various implements to affect changes in texture, edges, and continue to develop layers. As the portrait nears completion my interpretations of the subject become apparent through that contrast and balance of tight versus loose, texture versus smooth, and light versus dark areas. Drawing in particular allows for intentional exploration in lost and found areas.
My current search through painting and drawing is the curious psychology of work and everyday life.