THE CASTANEDA SERIES 2017
story of a painting
I run several photo shoots each summer, mostly with friends and family, and children of friends old enough to swim underwater. This year, I had the honor of working with Jaime Thompson and Francisca Kaufhold, two lovely young women who agreed to both swim and shoot along side me. This image was shot by photographer Francisca, thank you so much. When I am not the subject myself, I stand poolside and instruct my subject: swim closer, shallower, don't blow up your cheeks, do it again... Keep in mind I am probably the world's worst photographer (and possibly the world's worst swimmer!), yet often, from the worst photos come the best paintings, so all is good.
When winter comes and I am sitting in my studio, I review the summer's photo, searching for images that speak the language of longing and reaching, that mirror my state of mind. Mapping my life, watching others do the same, a lonely process. How does each person interact with their world? How does what you are going through affect you, distort you, illuminate? where are you? where are you going?
The painting itself begins with a colored gesso ground, then I sketch the image in conte pencils. The mapping of several key elements is an important step in my philosophical process: pinpointing the longitude and latitude of each point for consideration, painting a sort of satellite view of the image with a quick acrylic sketch. The body in it's world, the person on their voyage... The acrylic under-painting dries almost instantly and provides a great surface for the oil.
Usually I choose a section each day, as I like to work wet in wet oils, a process both satisfying and sensuous, where edges blend and reflections glow.
Today , Feb 9, I might just start with the foot on the lower left hand corner...