‘Life is my Tapestry’  24x24x1 oil on canvas, mounted on plywood

Welcome to my latest painting, pretty different than my others, so let me explain how this appeared into my life and onto my website. I received a photo to borrow because I needed some subjects to paint. I have been feeling a bit daring with my portraits lately and need more material. So I received this portrait of a 10 year old boy leaning on his arm, on a park table. I thought it was some kind of rug when I saw it.

I first started with a portrait in the upper left hand corner of the painting. I used simple color scheme, such as yellow ochre, cad red medium, black, white, then added prussian and ultramarine blue, and alizarin orange.

I focused on getting the right skin tones and making the eyes very expressive. I love working on the eyes, because to me it’s the most important part of the face. The windows to the soul. If that didn’t express emotion, then the whole painting wouldn’t work. It’s like a car running without an engine, can’t do it. So after painting the head and arm, I went right to the tapestry part, which looked like some geometric landscape from the future, maybe 2011. I then discovered I had a bunch of space to fill on the right side, so without much thought, I decided to go a bit abstract and paint geometric objects to resemble a village, then blurred it because I wanted the focus to be on the boy. I haven’t had too much of a chance to have a very dynamic background, and that’s what this painting was telling me. And yes sometimes I talk to my painting, how else are you going to get answers if you don’t ask?

After I painted the village part, I thought a nice little church would do it justice in the foreground, including a cool little stained glass and cross on top. The trick is to make it simple, because I can easily make it complex, and the painting was already complex.

The trickiest part to me was the blue shirt of the boy. The original photo cut off most of the shirt, so I had to improvise, then make it seem relevant to the rest of the painting. The pressure! I decided to become more expressive with the shirt, using bold strokes and blending it in with the village. I wanted to make a statement that the boy was connected to his village and church. By the way, the eyes turned out great, very expressive and soulful with just a few different colors. It’s a matter of putting in the right colors in the right spots. Colors are emotional, and placing them in different parts of the painting accents the emotional part of that painting. I try not to waste any strokes and make every one count. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  Nothing wrong in taking a few chances.

So there it is, it was more complex painting than talking about it, but that’s part of my passion and job, isn’t it?  A painting that complements the old New Mexico painting style from over a century ago.  That’s what it reminds me of.  Of course you can review this piece if you dare, I welcome it!