Look Closer #4

(In my last blog post, I talked about getting caught in the rain and my power wheelchair breaking down. I wanted to let readers know that the repairs are in process. I’ve also managed to get the proper paperwork done for a new cushion for the chair. It should all be taken care of by November, but I hold out hope that they’ll at least get the chair running before then, even if it’s November before the new cushion arrives.)

This blog post is to announce the completion of the 4th painting in my Look Closer: Disability and Sensuality series. With these paintings I hope to show that a person can be in transition, in great pain, and have major body transformations but still find themselves filled with elation and sensuality.  How we express sensuality changes, but it doesn’t cease.

This one stretched my skills and challenged me in new ways. I didn’t have any idea what I was going to call it, which is unusual for me. I usually have a whole story or working title from the beginning.

This one is based on a former neighbor of mine, a young woman who had a below the knee amputation after a car wreck several years before I met her. She was a lovely and vibrant person and I enjoyed seeing the ease with which she made her way in the world.

I started with sketches, trying to capture the liveliness with in a still figure.

I’m not used to representing architecture — stairs, doors. It’s not important to me that I paint things realistically, but I wanted a basic sense of perspective in this, so I started with a grid. (I painted over a failed painting.)

But once it was all gridded and measured out, I immediately went outside the lines.

It was interesting and often frustrating working on her facial expression, what to shade, how far to stray from reality. I also changed the design of the prosthetic leg several times. There are a lot of really dynamic prostheses now. I wanted hers to both stand out and to blend in.

I also wanted to capture the light and energy of sunset — light on one side of the porch, shadow on the other. And to somehow show the energy of yearning.

Almost there

And then, after consulting several people on it, I finished it up and titled it.

She Unlocked Her Door, by Joy Murray, 20×24″ Acrylic paint and ink on stretched canvas

Although it took a long time to finish this, I enjoyed this painting and am growing to appreciate my own style more and more. I hope the wonkiness adds to the energy I’m trying to convey.

I’d hoped to have this series finished by the end of the year, but I don’t see that happening now. I think it will be next summer before they are all done, but it’s not something I want rush.

These are the first three paintings:

Ever After by Joy Murray
The Color of Air by Joy Murray
Desire Seemed to Expand by Joy Murray

What do you think?


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