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Messing Around With Mother Nature


This is the next stage in my evolution as a painter. For a long time, when I had a hankering to paint a landscape, seascape, or portrait, I would just find an image on the internet, print it out, and attempt to reproduce it as closely as possible. Then that became boring. (Also, I figured, why bother to paint it when you could just print it on a canvas?) So I graduated to altering the color scheme of the published image, either going to monochome or a crazy palette of fauvist colors. That kept me entertained for quite some time. Until it didn't, and I turned to adding elements either to the background or the figure which made the image truly "my own."

More and more these days, thanks to my new Sony a-6000, I am using my own photos as references. The fact that they're MY photos doesn't mean that I'm enslaved to them, to faithfully reproduce them in my paintings. Rather, I have started using five or more photos per painting, each having elements I would like to represent, and then I pick and choose images from each in my composition. That way, if the RIGHT people weren't standing in the right places, wearing the right colors in the beach scene or in the woods, I could create my own world. This approach kept me happy for...a little while.

Then I decided that people really need to be levitating at La Jolla Shores. I mean, really LEVITATING. So I simply pulled this sweet little family out of the water, finished out their feet, and threw their shadow down and away from them; and badda-bing-badda-boom! No more gravity!

All of a sudden, "just another beach scene" became a mind-messer with a story. I always love a good story. So here it is:

It's just another day in Paradise at La Jolla Shores. The plus-size mama in the background is jumping the waves with her little kids. The woman in the mid-ground is jogging, and the two young boys in the foreground are busy with their sand castles. Everyone is going about his business, and no one except the the two towheads in the lower right corner notice that there's something funny about the couple walking with their toddler. Little Emma had a dream last night where she could walk in the air, and she couldn't wait to teach Mommy and Daddy how to do it too.

Let's take a hint from little Emma and not be so slavishly bound to the laws of nature. They can be quite boring, you know.


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