In beginning a new acrylic painting on canvas, I've been inspired by a figure drawing I did recently from a model. I have an idea about combining the figure with a large ceramic piece that resides in my studio. I've begun with a pencil sketch on a canvas that has been gessoed over several times already to obscure paintings done before. Surely the texture will influence the painting I have in mind. When I did the original sketch, I was working from a figure that was present. In this case, I'll develop it from that sketch, hence much of it will come from my head. I chose the drawing I'm using because of the flow of lines, simplicity, and the way I pictured it working with the object I'm using. The idea came first. The use of the pottery piece in conjunction with the figure was that idea. I knew which particular pot I wanted to use, and looked through my sketches to find a figure I thought could work with it.
Instead of conveying a thought, a story, a scenario, I've decided to just depict lovely lines and shapes. I'm thinking of Matisse's goal to paint something as comfortable as your favorite armchair. He loved color, not necessarily the true color of his subjects. He wanted to paint beautiful things in a way that the painting seemed effortless.
Although I don't desire to paint in his personal style, I take to heart some of his thoughts. I'm claiming his insights as my muse for this painting. I hope to be somewhat competent in moving toward the joy that his works express. Wow! Now I've scared myself!
Following are a few quotes from Matisse:
"Exactitude is not truth. "(Henri Matisse)
"When an artist or student draws a nude figure with painstaking care, the result is drawing, and not emotion. "(Henri Matisse)
"I have always tried to hide my efforts and wished my works to have the light joyousness of springtime which never lets anyone suspect the labors it has cost." (Henri Matisse)
"It is through the human figure that I best succeed in expressing the nearly religious feeling that I have towards life. "(Henri Matisse)
"I am simply conscious of the forces I am using and I am driven on by an idea that I really only grasp as it grows with the picture." (Henri Matisse)
"You study, you learn, but you guard the original naivete. It has to be within you, as desire for drink is within the drunkard or love is within the lover." (Henri Matisse)
"Above all, an artist must never be too easily satisfied with what he has done..." (Henri Matisse)
The early figurative work of mine is different from the way I work today.However, since each artist has his own way of expressing, in other words, his own language, what I do today has a direct link to the earlier pieces I developed. There is something innate in me that expresses a figure then or now with a similar basic language that is mine. I don't choose it....It's what comes from me, naturally, onto the page.
The first piece below is a watercolor that seems to have much in common with Picasso's early cubist exploration, Les Desmoiselles d'Avignon. His work was largely derived from his exposure to African masks and sculpture. I am sure that by this time in my painting career I had been exposed to his work including this influential painting in the development of the cubist movement in modern art. As early as my high school years, I was acquainted with the work of famous artists, among them Picasso. Below that I will show you his painting. My piece is no way a copy of his. None of us starts from zero. We carry around imagery we've absorbed along the way. As young artists, we try on some of the "hats" that those before us have worn. I eventually went on to create a dimensional collage piece with layered corrugation and other types of board that was based on this watercolor of mine and painted in gouache paint.
By clicking on each of these paintings you will be able to see them shown a larger scale: