One of my paintings that has generated a great deal of conversation is named "Strayed Path"
Most paintings of mine have a story and some are more interesting than other. They all seem to have something to do with my past and my present. What I felt then and what I feel now.
A few years ago I went through a very devastating breakup. I was the one devastated, not her. It sent me into a very depressed period, which, I'm happy, note; very happy to say is far behind me. Now being much wiser and with a very thick skin I can paint from a good place but for a while everything I did was dark and wrapped in sadness and loneliness.
One of the paintings I did during this period was "Alone with Thoughts". The first title for this was "The Heart of a Blonde" but that seemed a little too pointed and negative toward women, which I have never felt. I sat and looked at it for days after it was done and tried to think of what to do next and where was I in my life. I felt it was one of the best things I have done if I were to base my critique on any painting that truly expressed my feelings at one given time.
All this thinking made me go back over my life and look at all the mistakes and how I got to where I was. Where I was, was very alone and on top of that almost broke. I hadn't shown work or sold to anyone but my old patrons in some time. To be honest, I really don't know how I got though those few months or much of what took place.
During the ruminating over my past I went back over how I became a painter and when did I start doing working to be a painter. Although I had always been a child that drew constantly it wasn't a career. I went to a small community college more because my mother insisted than any other reason. Since I had always drawn she got me into a program of art and advertising. The art classes there were not much more or even as good as most that are in any high school now.
I graduated and went to work for the New York Library System, as an illustrator, but was really not much more than a printing press operator. I was living at home and had a large bedroom with a sort of studio/office in it. I was there one weekend night, alone in the house. I found some old paints of my mother's that were mostly dried up and an old canvas board about 16 x 20 inches. I had an easel I brought back from college so I decided I should paint something to show I was really an artist. My parents always billed me as this trained painter now with a job in the art industry. Wow, what a stretch.
I remember going through the tubes of paint and finding there were only two tubes, burnt umber and yellow ochre still soft enough to use. The only medium I had was turpentine. I set up the canvas on the easel and stood back to think of what to paint. Remember, this was the 60's. The art world was allover the place, but, it always is. At that age, I was 20; I decided to be an artist I had to be tragic. Well, I was, sort of. I wasn't in school any more; I was living at home and working in a boring job making very little money. I was stick in my hometown where the social life was limited to bowling or going to country music bars. Neither of which were something I could bring myself to do. I had no one in my life to really think about and knew I had to get out but didn't know how.
I guess I was tragic after all. I just started painting. What I did was this dark tree on the left with one branch. Below the branch was a big hole in the ground. Standing over this was a figure looking into this hole with complete despair. This was all done in just the deep yellow and the dark brown. All sort of abstract and no very good. No, really bad. That was my evening and I never did go back to it. It sat on that easel for a very long time and then next thing I knew I was being drafted into the military. Well, things did change.
So, here I was sitting in front of another easel, nearly 40 years later and feeling worse than I had ever felt. The only difference was I had a lifetime of experiences and I was a better painter.
I put up a stretched canvas and went to work using my swirly style of painting. I wanted the same basic composition but with a bit more skill and color. What you see here is the result of one long night of painting. I thought of it as nothing more than a release and a sort of tribute to my start as a painter.
A week or so later I had my grandsons over for the night. They always liked to see what I had been painting and always had an opinion. My youngest, Evan, sometimes asked why I painted so many naked women. He thought it was disrespectful. Yes, he was only 5! It did make me think. My older, Michael, was the deep thinker both then and now. He is a very sensitive young man. He stood and stared at my new painting and asked me what the name of it was. They always liked to name the paintings. I told him I didn't have a name yet. He took a few more moments and then said, "I think you should name it Strayed Path." Why, I asked. He replied it looked as if the person in the painting had lost his way and didn't know where to go.
From the mouth's of babes. It did make me think and I was amazed he could see that much in there. I don't know if that is a tribute to my painting skills or just darn lucky with a very observant young man. I think the latter is more likely.
The painting is still around and when I look at it now, I don't think so much of my depression at that time or the woman that caused it. I don't even think much of the reason or the origin. I really only think of my grandson and somehow he is connected to me now and is a part of who I was way back when I was 20 sitting in my room alone and wondering what to do with my life than. Still wondering about that but I like to think I have learned a great deal of life.
You can see the painting, Strayed Path here, and Alone with Thoughts here.
I'm still painting, and most of them are of beautiful women. Now days always with a high heart and healthy excitement. My grandsons are older now, and seem to accept me as the painter of beauty as I see it.