New Work, New Thoughts

Partly because summer is a busy, miserably hot season in North Alabama, partly because I thought "taking it easy" for a little while might be beneficial, among other things, I had not completed any new paintings for almost a month until today. I deliberately took even more time than needed to complete the painting I now call "Nik in Italy" [below] and signed once as usual, then again in Latin [above]. However, now that it is finished, I have already begun working simultaneously on two new paintings.
An up-close inspection of this large portrait reveals that only the face is completely smooth and free of traces of my hand, the rest of the painting looks fairly figurative from a distance but still slightly abstract in much of its brushwork. I wanted to blend what I knew of Venetian paintings with something of my usual style, and have been musing to myself that the end result comes across as a bit of a "painting of a painting". Nik, the subject of the portrait and a subject very dear to me, is rather Italian in heritage, looks, (diet), and manner, yet was born and raised in the United States. To my mind, the work is both a statement about his own cultural ties, artistic sensibilities, and love of the Italian landscape, as well as a re-envisioning of his appearance, environment, and place in time-- a bit of imaginative fancy that nevertheless reveals a concrete truth about its subject.

In addition to renewing my interest in painting portraits, this painting has left me thinking even more about how I can continue to incorporate historically popular techniques into new and original work. . .

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