Monday, October 30, 2006

"Wondering What it'd be Like to Kiss Him" oil -- 30x40" Before seeing this picture, one of my friends heard the title and assumed I would have painted a picture of George Clooney. Oooh baby! Not quite. Have you ever gotten divorced? Know somebody who's going through a divorce? Then you know how crazy that first year is. That first year is nothing short of a freak-out experience, no matter how agreeable both parties are. Back in 1993 I went through a divorce. Everybody (including my therapist - who turned out to be a nut-case herself) kept urging me to "get out there & start dating". Stupid, stupid advice! Why throw yourself to the wolves when you're still reeling from one of life's major upsets? Yikes. Anyway -- right after my ex moved out, I hired a contractor to replace all the doors and install dead-bolt locks. As with most contractors, he was charming as hell. Blonde, curly hair, blue eyes, fantastic body -- just your basic, gorgeous, drop-dead dreamboat. Such a crush I had on this dude! Thank goodness I didn't make a fool of myself. I kept wishing that he would ask me out when the job was finished, but that never happened. So what could a poor, horney artist do in this situation but to do a painting about it?

The contractor is represented by the hammer. The red devil in the champagne flute is my horney fantasies. Note the gold, glittery stiletto heels (I got them for 10 cents at a garage sale). Everybody asks me about the big, black, hair bug in the foreground. He's the Horrible Fear of Rejection. I laid this setup on a white sheet which reflected the colored lights of the owl yard lights. They're the only light source in this painting, giving the whole scene a surreal, carnival-like atmosphere. My life felt like a surreal carnival at that point. It took several tries to figure out how to achieve a glowing effect on the owls. For one thing, the background had to be painted dark enough to provide a contrast to the glowing lights. And have you ever tried to make a clear, glowing red by adding white to red paint? That only ends up as a grayish, muddy pink. What worked, I finally found, was to paint the owls in titanium white and leave them dry. Then I gave them very thin glazes of pure color.

Friends were in my house last weekend and saw this painting, which I'd nearly forgotten about. It had won a cover painting contest by an "arty" magazine here in Detroit, back in 1994. Seeing it again reminded me of how much I enjoy doing wild still lifes. Hmmm.... where'd I put that purple garden gazing globe?