the gift

I recently received the “Best of Show” award at the Texas and Neighbors 25th Annual Art Show in Irving for “The Gift,” so I wanted to share a little bit about this painting/mixed media piece.
The Gift
The Gift
The composition for “The Gift” was inspired by a historical painting by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres called  “Venus at Paphos.”
Venus at Paphos by Ingres
Venus at Paphos by Ingres
  I am interested in taking art historical depictions of women (typically created by male artists) and keeping the overall composition, but changing the meaning entirely.  These women are no longer in the background; they are no longer simply seen as allegories of beauty and desire.  They are now active participants in their own life, everyday women with interesting stories to tell.
Stylistically, I prefer looser lines and more abstracted forms than used in traditional paintings.  I am influenced by the modernists:  Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh, Valadon, and Toulouse-Lautrec, to name a few.   I feel a connection to their liberated use of color and simplification of forms.  In this particular work, I first layered paper onto the canvas.  The underlying image (a photograph of a sculpture that I took while in Boston) shows through only near the bottom of the composition — the dark areas in the female’s dress, and under the red garment of the child.
Another influece on my art is stained glass windows.  I believe this comes from my background in Art History, and eventual travels in Europe.   Each panel of stained glass  tells a story through simple lines and bold colors.  Likewise, each canvas or panel of my work captures a simple moment in time (a conversation, an exchange between mother and child), and elevates it to a moment of the sublime.  Although I use the “aura” or halo in some of my work, it not meant to be religious, but rather to bring to light the sacred acts of everyday life.   Using these female subjects, much of my art work deals with my interpretation of my own life: my role as mother, daughter, and wife.
Pablo Picasso said, ” Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”  For me, at least, this is true. 
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