Driving out to the car forest to paint something, I had an online comment from a friend in mind. He suggested I paint something from real life, something around me. I spotted a horse skull I had never noticed on a fence out by the pig pen or pig sty-whatever it’s called. (just to be sure… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sty) No pigs there now. Fence is only half there; shed is barely hangin’ on but there was this skull.
Anyway, I took the horse skull from the fence. It was tied with rusty wire. I also took the wooden stool there with a patch of carpet almost fully rotted away. It’s barely standing but I needed a pedestal for the reference bone material. I used a big rock to pound the old nails back in. It didn’t help much. The legs are not of equal lengths and the nail holes don’t hold tight anymore.
I imagined how this stool with horse skull would look sitting in the middle of a white gallery in a big city. It’ll have a rainbow of paint on it by that time, dribbled from my cans and brushes amongst the sagebrush.
I turned around and saw the landscape behind me and I almost included a rendition of that landscape in my skull painting. This is an O’Keefe move. Her paintings featured heightened color renderings of skulls and cactus and wood, often against the stark Western landscape of which she lived, New Mexico.
I was thinking of Freud because, from the start, I wanted to use alot of colors to paint this subtle dry white of the skull. At this moment I’m not quite finished with this skull painting; I’ll work on it today when I’m done writing this.
I just want it to remain airy and faceted from different angles, “sculpting” the skull’s shape before your eyes. Will they ‘buy it’? That’s the Freud move; He would paint flesh and bodies and see if the colorful illusion worked.
- Lucien Freud’s Last Work to Go on Display (abcnews.go.com)