acrylic on hardboard
I have created several paintings with the same theme, a little girl in a feather mask. As I complete the last of the paintings I thought I should share a little about what inspired them. I took a workshop at the Museum of Fine Arts. I usually do this once a year to fill a credit requirement. As usual I put it off until the last possible minute. But it happened to be my lucky day because not only was the workshop inspired by a painter, it was Henry Tanner a painter that I liked a lot.
The workshop was on a Saturday, actually an entire Saturday, but I was happy to get away from the kids and do some adult stuff for a refreshing change. I didn't know just how much I needed this change. I was really glad that the workshop spotlighted Henry Tanner an artist that was a painter and a realist. I have been a fan, but I didn't know too much about him. I'd only seen copies of his work in books and on the internet. Viewing Tanner's work made me fall in love with painting all over again. Each painting I likened to watching a magician perform a magic trick. These two dimensional paintings created decades ago possessed a kinetic energy. You actually wanted and needed to walk around them. Up close you could only see his loose expressive brushstrokes, but as you walked back from the painting, these wild brushstrokes would disappear forming into what appeared to be a meticulous modeling of details. It was magic plain and simple. I had the most incredible experience looking at every single painting of his this way. First up close and then from far away. I must have looked insane, but painting had become exciting again for me. I spent hours after the workshop was complete looking at his show again at my own leisure pace.
Tanner taught me that paintings can be interactive. I learned that it was okay to stage my subject. After all Tanner's "Mary from the Annunciation" (my favorite) wasn't something he was witnessing in real time. He affirmed that light and illumination are powerful tools for an artist. He taught me sometimes a painting is never finished, and lastly his work taught me to love painting again.