This is one of a new group of paintings I'm finishing up; the title is "Core
"...36"x 54" on seven panels. Perhaps you notice a torso in the center panel? This is a completely new idea for me--I haven't used any human images in my paintings for at least 20 years. Why now? I'm not sure...perhaps this follows those dog paintings I did this summer, in which (radically for me!) I "allowed" recognizable, figurative images into my work for the first time in years. Or it's a result of the life drawing session I attended in August...or a reflection of a new aspect of my life--taking two dance classes--so I've become a bit more aware of the expressive potential of the figure.
One of these is a Nia
class, which involves fairly simple choreographed movements that focus on placement of feet, legs and arms, while encouraging lots of improvisation and dancing for pure pleasure. The music is unusual, and often beautiful--certainly not your typical aerobics class pop playlist. Everyone ends up sweating profusely and it is very enjoyable, though I have to admit it took me several slightly embarassing sessions to catch on to the basic moves. At this point I'm actually starting to feel some grace and rhythm in my movements (whether this would be obvious to anyone else, I have no idea!)
My other dance class, taught by painter/dancer Barbara Shafer, is what I jokingly refer to as Modern Dance for Middle Aged Klutsy People. (Speaking for myself, of course--although there are others who would accept that description.) Interestingly, all the participants in this small group are artists, so we share that primary identity (as opposed to thinking of ourselves as Modern Dancers.) This class consists of a series of slow, very controlled and precise movements. The movements mostly generate from the core muscles of the torso and are meant to flow harmoniously through contraction and release. In some cases they do, but I personally have a long ways to go to acheive this effect.
Still, there I am, working hard at something I would not perviously have imagined doing at all. And figures are appearing in my paintings! If you can't surprise yourself, what fun is it anyway?