Saturday, September 20, 2008

Heather #4 - Study for "Comfort"

Heather #4, 12 x 9 inches, oil on canvas. SOLD to DC, Chevy Chase, MD.

This painting is a study for one of a series that I began over a year ago. The series relates to art-making, specifically the act of telling stories that condense and re-fashion experiences and emotions into a single image for the viewer to consume. It's art, about art.

I like nudes painted by women. Granted, the female nude is not ground-breaking, but I think being a woman makes me take it from a different angle. The nude as envisioned by men sometimes seems very foreign to me - who are these women romping naked in the woods? I like them, wouldn't dream of asking men to stop loving to see us nude, but I can't help taking these images more personally.

Women who paint nudes seem to paint variations on the self-portrait. Though it's a model, it's also me. I'm sympathetic to her. She's also my daughters, women I know... Not as much an object of desire as an object of empathy. The nude female to me, while lovely and enchanting, is anything but docile. She's a symbol of vulnerability, grace, languor, desire, physical strength, exposure... the turning outside of all we hold inside.

In this painting, the figure holds a brush. She's fallen asleep. It took me about a year to come back to this painting, because I was off learning how to make these marks - create a sense of intimacy and use the paint in a way that appears off-hand and effortless. (Ironically, very tight painting is actually easier - you just go at it ad infinitum until it's finished to the desired level. Painting this way entails a clear idea of every stroke's function, sometimes layers in advance.)


Mark Adams said...

Beautifully phrased - The painting and the commentary on it.

Daily Paintings said...


Debbie said...

I have never heard it put better. You are as gifted with words as you are with paint.

Connie said...

Gorgeous painting and I loved the commentary as well.

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Wow, Lisa! I dropped by your blog as a response to your comment on mine and am very glad I did. I'm really enjoying your work. This post, and the lovely painting, is especially erudite.

I very much identify with your thinking. The model as self-portrait is perhaps what many artists' paintings are, to one degree or another. Your honesty and transparency as a painter, who also happens to be a woman, expresses it well.