Mythic Figures

“Yo-yo with Cat”
Oil/panel
48” x 32”
2015

“Yudelka”
Oil/Canvas
24″ x 16″
2012

Yudelka was my lover for a brief time…twice…during and then after 2012. It was a flinty and awkward connection at almost every encounter. These paintings of her are not my ideas of what she looked like or even what I thought she was in some metaphoric or abstract sense. No, these are paintings about express how I felt about the time we spent together. Yudelka was stunningly beautiful to me. And at the same time her presence reminded me of my own feelings of being very old and dried up and even dreading death. She was the personification of what I had often read or heard about but never until then experienced, the intertwining of Sex and Death. She was sexy and youthful in every way. But in the blink of an eye she seemed withered and lifeless as though the departure of her soul had taken her bodies youthful color and suppleness out with it. Or, to be more precise, I felt those things in myself when we were together and I could feel myself projecting those sentiments on to her.  

When I did these paintings of her I remember feeling a little self conscious and guilty the way one would feel if you were caught drinking milk from the jug at the refrigerator. I felt I exposed a bit too much and wasn’t sure if I should be ashamed or giddy.     

It’s been 10 years since Yudelka and I were lovers and now, when I see these pieces, I just wish I had done more.

“Friends”
Oil on panel and canvas
30” x 24” and various sizes
2011

These are all paintings inspired by my friends around this time. None of them is an attempt to recreate their likeness. But all of the paintings do have something of the spirit who inspired them. However, that is only a coincidence.

My intent was to use my friend’s presence in my life to inspire my explorations of how I wanted to make paintings at that particular time. Portraits are easy for me. So they are a perfect subject to run my experiments on.

You see that each of these portraits a completely different way of constructing a painting. I would create these pieces and then leave them around the studio as markers for where I was going with my work.  Some where done from life and others where done while I was alone in the studio reflecting on my friend and exploring a new way to make a painting.

The painting with the bright orange background was done of a person I did know very well at a salon I hosted every Tuesday night at my studio from 2010-2012. It was a mixed bag of artists and musicians and hangers on. I didn’t know this guy with the pony tail very well. But I liked him and I have always enjoyed this painting.  

“Dream of Yudelka”
Oil/panel
24” x 18”
2011

“Rebirth at the Old Studio”
Oil/Plywood
24″ x 10″
2011
 

Artists are often obsessed with their own studios.  And I guess I am no exception. My studios have been my home as well as my place to conjure and make art.  But whether I live in my studio or not, the studio is the place where I feel most at home.  Or perhaps it’s better to say where I feel most meaningful.  

 
This painting celebrates my return to working in a space that I had been in for 15 years until I moved part of my operation into another space while keeping this one but not using it much.   The other space was a location nearby that also had the  Bistro and theater that I created.   And, of course it had a little studio in the back as well.   
 
Well, at some point all of that collapsed and I beat a retreat back to my original space.  And it felt so good.  There was a deep spiritual connection with that space and so it was good to return to that during that time of such hardship.   I painted there for another 4 years until I eventually moved to the location I am still in at the time of this writing in the summer of 2021.   
 
In 2013, when I moved to my current location I made a decision to set my art aside and focus on business until my debts were cured and I acquired some economic security.   I was, after all, in my mid fifties.   It took a few years but eventually the spa grew to do just that.   And by 2019 I leased additional space, set up a studio and began painting.   And it has been fantastic.