A Portrait From The Abyss Of Abandoned Projects

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In the spirit of finishing old projects that’ve been gathering dust, I decided to unearth this portrait late last night when I found myself unable to sleep. I stalled on this painting years ago, completely frustrated with how it was turning out; I kept re-working areas of the canvas without any satisfaction. Working on it last night, though, I lost myself. Before I knew it, it was time to set the art aside, brush my teeth, and get ready for work.

Sometimes, I have discovered, it’s easy to stare at a composition for too long, to scrutinize it too much. There’s a kind of hypnosis that occurs. And when a piece isn’t quite turning out the way you want, all you can see are the imperfections. The problem areas overwhelm the rest of the composition and a discouraging futility settles in. It’s for this reason that I have so many incomplete projects laying about.

Something else I’ve discovered is that returning to an old ‘problem’ piece can be satisfying. Distance helps clear the cobwebs, and those problem areas don’t stand out as much. Solutions seem possible. The ‘writer’s block’ of the situation has faded away.

I slammed my head against the table so much over this painting and eventually gave up.
Last night, after a few hours, it all came together and became something I’m okay with.
I hope you enjoy it.

-joe

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July 22, 2017 – Portrait of Caitlin

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“Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”
~Franz Kafka

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July 20, 2017 – The Red-Haired Woman

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“When you have a brush in your hand, inking a beautiful woman is a lot like running your hands over her.”
~Frank Miller

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July 06, 2017 – Heather

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“If a photographer cares about the people before the lens and is compassionate, much is given. It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument.”
~Eve Arnold

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July 03, 2017 – Laura

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“The severe portrait that is not the greatest joy in the world to the subject may be enormously interesting to the reader.”
~Irving Penn

This is a portrait of Laura, taken in the Rillito River wash during that bone-dry time before the monsoon rains.

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Nude Woman With Flower

Woman With Flower post

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Art for art’s sake. Isn’t that the expression? We just like to look at pretty shit and say “hey, jeez, that’s some pretty shit.” Everything is beautiful, nothing is off-script in the production-house of life. We wipe the crust from our eyes every morning, slap the alarm clock, brew our coffee, and go about our lives. And everything involved in that process is pretty nifty when you get right down to it. I mean, there’s tragedy and frustration as well, but these things can also feed into a creative, evocative, and transcendent output.

All of that is to say this: when in down, artist friends, make pictures of naked women. It’s as old as cave paintings. I found myself sifting through old source material, looking for an excuse to make a painting, and the image above is where I landed, for lack of anything else to do. I hope you like it.

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