I am thinking a lot of Goya's The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters from Los Caprichos. The title implies that losing touch with reality is a scary place. The figure is slumped over a desk, his garments making him into a winged form like the bat/owl creatures behind him. I thought to redo the picture, changing it to mean the opposite. I think it is important to change the word "produce" from the Goya to "create" as a more postive action rather than cause and effect. The mood of my painting is optimistic, celebratory for spring and rebirth, while Goya's monsters press on him in a nightmare. The figure in my painting is female and is vertical, active, lyrical in her pose. The form of her head surrounded by her arms is echoed by the center of the yellow flower surrounded by petals. The monsters are replaced by butterflies. The expressionist paint handling is energetic and relaxed while clear. The fluidity of the forms and their environment suggest harmony. Of course the painting is indebted to DeKooning.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Saturday, March 24, 2007
This painting came from taking out the garbage when the sun was setting and the moon was out. The turbulent landscape is in contrast to the monumental scale of my dog, Rusty, a Vizsla. I think of Egyptian sculpture and cat worshiping. No matter what adventures take me from home (beyond the exciting trash, that is), my dog is waiting.
Examples of good dog art:
Posted by Nicole Maynard-Sahar at Saturday, March 24, 2007
Saturday, March 17, 2007
etching, watercolor, 4" x 3" image size
Portraits often show people dressed in their best clothes. People from around the world identify themselves with particular animals. Here my butterfly obsession combines these two ideas as the butterfly operates as finery and a symbol for change and renewal. The particular butterfly this is based on, the Banded-Peacock, also alludes to the way a peacock takes pride in its ornamentation, which although decorative, is also part of its structure. The butterfly in my picture has been fused with my form, elongated in the process, making an elegant collar. The top part of the butterfly functions as a kind of headdress, making sense only in this printed world. I could make fun and say that these two forms can be compared with Princess Leia's hair buns or Mickey Mouse ears. Both comparisons are relevant in that the hairstyle and the mouse ears are adornment necessary to particular characters.
I am also very interested in Goya and his Los Caprichos. This print is going to be used as the introductory image in a series of butterfly themed prints that will be assembled as a folio in a small edition of ten. I am not sure how many images I will make for this project, but at least ten. Goya made eighty prints in each edition of Los Caprichos, which were sold at the time for what was the equivalent value of thirty-five dollars a set. The six sets he made for friends were of a higher quality than the ones for sale to the general public.
Posted by Nicole Maynard-Sahar at Saturday, March 17, 2007
Monday, March 12, 2007
oil on panel, 20" x 20"
The position of the hands in this painting is sign language for "grace". The landscape is war-torn, contrasting with the title. One hand seems to have white feathers, like a dove (christian symbol for the holy spirit) descending on a bald head, perhaps a monk or a soldier. The bird-hand is semi-transparent, ephemeral, suited for the spiritual. Its touch has a rippling effect. The vertical hand seems to struggle with mortality, entropy. It feels like it is sinking, but it is resistant, elegant but raw.
In terms of composition, the square is essentially divided by an "x". The hand is in the upper left, while the head the lower right, forming one diagonal, while the winged hand makes the other.
Posted by Nicole Maynard-Sahar at Monday, March 12, 2007
Saturday, March 03, 2007
oil on panel, 24" x 18"
I'm sneaking another post in this week.
This candy colored painting started by covering the surface with dots. I was mindful of the delivery of each dot, like a violinist plucking individual strings. I also thought of Andrew Forge, whom I was fortunate to have critique my work in graduate school at U. Penn. I thought of him because of the picture's pointillist beginning and because of its meaning. "Passing the butterfly" is like passing the torch or the bar in a relay race. It is about inspiring one another and striving. Andrew Forge was a painter, art historian, and head of the MFA program at Yale for many years. He had a combination of brilliance, integrity, and humility that made every word he said precious. Even though I have only spent a handful of hours in his company, his life and work exemplified what an artist, a person can be when they live to their full potential.
There are many people who have helped me, and as I get older I am more willing to accept help. The butterfly is precious, unique, and vulnerable in its fragility, as are we as we extend ourselves and accept a hand from others. The lyrical colors reflect the content. The surrounding space shifts in this precarious transaction.
Posted by Nicole Maynard-Sahar at Saturday, March 03, 2007
Friday, March 02, 2007
This is a double self-portrait (figure in blue, larger figure sketched on left) along with my husband, son, and dog. The house is a part of my husband's torso, his head its apex, like a cross on a steeple. He is the symbol of home for me. One of my legs is an arm and hand. It touches the ground, showing that I am on sure footing at home, "walking on solid ground," so to speak. I like the change in scale between the interior and exterior figures as well as the flailing arms in exuberant greeting. This is as close to Hallmark as I get.
The style is somewhat Cubist. Two of Picasso's portraits of family were stolen this week from his granddaughter's home. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/01/arts/design/01pica.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin Their combined value of $66 million is hard to wrap one's head around.
Posted by Nicole Maynard-Sahar at Friday, March 02, 2007