My fiancee and I are moving which means I’ll be moving into a brand new studio soon! The change is welcome and I’m excited to have more room to spread my wings. Packing up the old studio has put me into a reflective frame of mind and I’ve been thinking about how much I’ve grown as an artist in the past few years. I’m happy and thankful for my progress but I’m definitely ready and looking forward to the next phase in my life and career.
During this time of old to new, I’ve decided to say goodbye to the past by revisiting some of my previous work in a series of graphite drawings I’ve created from a selection of my favorite paintings. The first goodbye study is based on a painting I’m really proud of: The Girl and the Owl.
Each original graphite study is for sale. If you are interested in The Girl and the Owl Study, please contact me. And stay tuned for more revisited work in the days to come as well as some shots of the new studio!
SOLD!! Thanks for the interest and wonderful feedback!Leave a comment
Cool face of the river
Asked me for a kiss.
| Langston Hughes |
This beautiful, tragic poem by Langston Hughes conjures up images of sadness and death and has a haunting feeling of calm that struck and moved me. The title of the poem, “Suicide’s Note,” seems to have a dual meaning. It can mean the actual note written before taking one’s own life, but it can also refer to a music note. I think the poet was talking about the “song” death sings to us at dark times. The person considering suicide seems captivated and seduced by the beautiful yet dangerous river of water (death) much like victims of a Siren’s song have been lured to their watery demise in tales of old. To the person in the poem, the water promises peace and tranquility, an end to pain and heartache, and an escape from all of life’s troubles. (“Suicide’s Note” also reminded me of death poems traditionally written near the time of one’s own death.)
This poem along with the frequent presence of death in my life as of late (I’ve been to four funerals this year, one just last week after finding the kind and gentle elderly man who lived upstairs from us dead in his kitchen) not to mention personal feelings of stress, sadness, and loss have led me to create the following painting entitled “Lola’s Note” (a deliberate play on the title of the poem).
24″ x 30″
Graphite / Acrylic / Oil on Canvas
Lola is a character much like the one in the Langston Hughes poem. She is caught in a moment of trance with the river, walking deeper and deeper into the water that will take her life. Her hopelessness and pain allow her to turn to the great peace and resolve the river offers her. A snake hugs her neck, representing her focus and the dark temptation or “song” she is surrendering to.
My photo reference for “Lola” came about by fortunate accident while stumbling upon the beautiful photography of Zhang Jingna. I hesitated a bit before referencing a photo of such a perfect artistic portrait but like the dangerously seductive water in the poem, her emotionally captivating photograph entitled “The Coldest Day” called out to me as the perfect inspiration for my forlorn character and I surrendered. I’d like to thank Jingna for her breathtaking photography and for permission to use “The Coldest Day” in bringing my painting story to life.
**A note to readers and interpreters of this blog/painting: My objective with this painting was to express feelings and thoughts through imagery. I do not promote/condone suicide. My experiences with death, most prominently my baby sister’s death when I was nine, have taught me that life is truly a gift.Leave a comment
David, a bass enthusiast and all-around awesome guy, contacted me to paint his daughters, Kierra and D’Arcy, as a 10th anniversary present to his beautiful wife, Elena, and I was thrilled to take on such a touching project.
Not only are David & Elena proud parents who absolutely love their kids but they’re pretty cool too. David plays in a surf band and Elena works at a Toronto radio station. (If you know me, you know how much I love music so I thought that was great). Also into photography (check out his DA page here), David naturally took some amazing pictures of Kierra and D’Arcy that I used as reference for the piece.
Just from seeing the photos of these mini-muses, I could tell they were filled with personality and light and life. I wanted to capture their intensity and depth of emotion while expressing the powerful inner knowing kids have. I also wanted to bring out the uniqueness of each sister separately and yet get a feeling for the relationship between the two. I only hope it captures something of the life and spirits of Kierra and D’Arcy. Below is the finished piece.
I can honestly say that this was one of my favorite commissions to date, so thank you David, Elena, Kierra and D’Arcy!! I’m honored to have had the opportunity to create this special painting for such a cool family!! Happy 10th Anniversary Elena & David and keep shining Kierra & D’Arcy!!
I’ve had a few sketches lying around and the other day one jumped out at me and told me to paint it. So I did.
AND I recorded a quick time-lapse video of the painting process…
16″ x 20″
Graphite / Acrylic / Oil on Illustration Board
© Michael Shapcott 2010Leave a comment