I’ll be honest. I always thought pet portraits were a little hokey, but lately I’ve been really moved by the love people have for their pets. Living in a small studio apartment, I unfortunately do not have the luxury of having a dog of my own (and ten minutes in a room with a cat could kill me–allergies)…but that doesn’t stop me from paying tribute to others’.
Here are three paintings, in very different styles, of my sister and brother-in-law’s three dogs…and a sketch of Andy Cohen with his dog Wacha, because I am a little bit in love with him. (Wacha, that is. I have a soft spot for troublemaking beagles.)
Andy Cohen and Wacha Cohen…a couple of goofballs.
My “niece,” Penny…we think she’s an American dingo/Carolina dog.
My elder “nephew,” Kirby, who has color-shifted from an all-black lab mix to having a beautifully clownish white mask in his old age.
My younger “nephew,” Rudy, an Australian shepherd the size of a VW beetle who thinks he’s a chihuahua. Here, he’s being coy in the moonlight.
Many years ago, when I was in graduate school for creative writing, a lot of my friends and family were telling me that I am a strong visual artist and should take my work more seriously. I emailed a few gallery owners/managers in Washington, D.C., and as one might expect, only a few replies came in from such passive outreach. The first person replied to tell me that he was not presently accepting any new artists into his fold. Fair enough. The second wrote back to tell me she did not have time to write back. Say wot? From the third, I got something along the lines of “I took a look at some of your work. I can see that you have some talent, but I would suggest you take a basic drawing class.” Ouch.
I was never much of a sketcher, but lately I’ve had more of an attention span for drawing–particularly with conte crayons and charcoal–than painting. Some of the results:
Portrait of the CNN anchor. Conte crayon/chalk on black pastel paper. | Companion Song
“Distant Music” is a 48″ x 36″ acrylic work inspired by the James Joyce short story “The Dead.” In the story, which takes place in Dublin, Ireland, in the 1910s, the character Gabriel watches his wife from a distance. She is standing on a staircase, listening to someone play a piano upstairs. Gabriel realizes how in love with his wife he is at this momen. Gabriel’s wife pines for her deceased first love Michael Furey throughout the story. This painting represents Gabriel’s passion and his wife’s coolness lingering on in the house as it stands today, in a state of disrepair but full of their passiosn.
Gabriel had not gone to the door with the others. He was in a dark part of the hall gazing up the staircase. A woman was standing near the top of the first flight, in the shadow also. He could not see her face but he could see the terra-cotta and salmon-pink panels of her skirt which the shadow made appear black and white. It was his wife. She was leaning on the banisters, listening to something. Gabriel was surprised at her stillness and strained his ear to listen also. But he could hear little save the noise of laughter and dispute on the front steps, a few chords struck on the piano and a few notes of a man’s voice singing.
He stood still in the gloom of the hall, trying to catch the air that the voice was singing and gazing up at his wife. There was grace and mystery in her attitude as if she were a symbol of something. He asked himself what is a woman standing on the stairs in the shadow, listening to distant music, a symbol of. If he were a painter he would paint her in that attitude. Her blue felt hat would show off the bronze of her hair against the darkness and the dark panels of her skirt would show off the light ones. Distant Music he would call the picture if he were a painter.
This painting is what is left of that house: it is time-worn, but Gabriel’s passion is so strong that the energy of that moment lingers.
Metatron, 24″ x 24″ acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas.
This painting is built on a foundation of the sacred geometry of Metatron’s Cube. The painting represents transfiguration from an imperfect human form into a higher, but still imperfect form. It is inspired by stories of Enoch, who in apocryphal ancient texts, was “promoted,” or changed from a human being into an angel, and given the name Metatron.
An experimental watercolor-on-canvas gift for a dear friend.