This blog contains a nude painting of a person with a disability.
I first notice autumn in the slant of sunlight, the way it’s moved more from the center of the sky to the south. Here in Memphis, the leaves have not yet started changing color much, but I can feel the preparations that trees and plants are making. I can’t really describe it, or even know that it’s a real feeling, but change seems to be in the air.
Night comes sooner. The sun is setting by 7:30. I sit on my porch and watch the chimney swifts swirl and dive into the chimney across the street earlier and earlier. Acorns are dropping everywhere and the squirrels are feasting and burying future meals. Other plants and trees are releasing their pods and seeds. I collected these magnolia pods and watched as the seeds emerged:
My moonflower pods still on the vine. Next years seeds:
I’ve seen a few ginkgo trees with leaves turning to yellow.
I stroll around the neighborhood, happy that it’s cooler, sad that summer is coming to an end. Here we have another month at least before the first freeze. Or not. Weather is never entirely reliable.
All summer long, I take pictures of plants — my own flowers on the porch, flowers and plants in the neighborhood. I should probably be out sketching them, but I don’t. I save all the photos for the winter, when I’ll paint from the photographs. I never do as many paintings as I plan, but I’m at peace with that.
I’d like to be more prolific, as prolific as nature herself. But that’s not going to happen.
Especially now that I’ve got a few series of paintings in process, and a few commissions. And I always have a painting that comes from out of nowhere and demands to be made.
I’m working on “It’s Written All Over Your Face,” is a series of 5×7″ paintings, featuring faces and words, insights to the character.
I’m also beginning a series on the diversity of bodies, of bodies shaped by what we call disability, bodies in transition. I am doing my first nudes in this series, showing scars and unique proportions. It will take at least a year to do this series because I want them to be detailed, realistic and mythic at the same time. Not so different from my work so far, but with more maturity and a subject matter close to heart. It’s called “Look Closer.”
This first painting in the series, Yet Desire Seemed to Expand, started in my mind as a simple painting of an older body dealing with pain and a degenerative disorder. The great thing about painting, though, is that when you get in the flow, the idea takes on a life of its own.
This series is a celebration of the diversity of bodies. I have discovered that you can be in great pain, and lose major bodily functions, and still find yourself filled with a sense of elation and sensuality. That’s what I want to share in these paintings.
I won’t be pricing or selling them until the entire collection is finished. Then I’ll look for a venue to show them all together.
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