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Leonor Fini – Sphinxette

Artist Leonor Fini Portraits

My google searches and tumbling for artwork featuring Greek sphinxes keeps bringing me back to the work of Leonor Fini, a 20th century female surrealist, and I am left feeling ignorant because I have never read about her, heard her mentioned in a class or viewed her work before. Of course I am not an art historian and my education has been far from exhaustive, so I shouldn’t be surprised, but yet I am.

She was incredibly prolific and multi talented(stage designer, painter, illustrator, writer), but I am drawn more to photographs of her than her own work. There is so much theater and poise, much like her sphinxes. Much like her cats. Even her paintings that feature herself tend to appeal to me the most, which is odd. I feel very uncomfortable, almost annoyed, when looking at a female artists work that tends to concentrate on the artists own image. It has more to do with me than the artist, I’m sure. I think I am uneasy about the fact that women are taught to be looked at, to want to be looked at, to share their face and appearance for others pleasure, and to take pleasure in others pleasure in their image. It’s an exercise in culturally taught narcissism. It’s beautiful and sick. I’m part of it too, though I don’t often paint myself. Perhaps I would too if I thought my image would appeal to the art buying public. A prettier way to interpret what I said above is that women are socialized to want to share themselves, be it their thoughts, feelings or face, with others, and that the narrative self portrait is a natural step.

Leonor Fini Paintings

Off hand I immediately am reminded of William Blake, Bosch and in the colors and allegory some Klimt. She was a contemporary of the better known, and male, surrealists. She was not one of their wives or sisters and seemed to be an extremely independent and strong willed artist. In fact she didn’t identify as one of them(surrealist), but art history needs to categorize things and that is where she falls. There is sexuality in her paintings, but it feels remote and not necessarily for the male gaze. Many of her figures are sculptural yet also ghostlike. They have both the solidity and coolness of a marble sculpture, yet look like they could float away like a spirit, or they are operating on a different plane than us, and we can only see them shimmering momentarily(specifically her lithographs). Wow. I should stop there before I embarrass myself.

See more Leonor Fini works at CFM Gallery, Spaightwood Gallery and Minsky Gallery.

You can read an informative essay about her here and find more work from her on the Wurzelforum.

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The Root of All Evil

The Summoning - acrylic on masonite

I don’t often have work for sale. I feel like i am always in the middle of a painting, rarely at the end of one, and with school that slows me done further.

I do have some work for sale scattered about on the internet. Pictured above is a painting I have waiting to find a home currently for sale at the J Fergeson Gallery in Farmville VA(no, not the obnoxious notification producing Facebook game). Jason and I had a show there last year and the gallery still carries some of my work that didn’t sell at the opening.

And of course there is Etsy. I have a lil’ Etsy Shop where I sell some of my smaller work and hair pins there.

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A bit of a preview

portrait preview

Here is a preview of a portrait I’ve been working on. I used a friend of mine, Ashley, as a model . I was hoping this would be practice and that I’d get another chance to work with her for a more conceptual painting, but she’s moving for NY tomorrow morning!

Pardon the super saturated photo. I took the picture with my phone.

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Wishery Experiments

playing with ink wash, gesso and prismacolors

This semester I am in the last drawing course offered at TCC. My assignment is to basically create a cohesive body of work in a drawing medium by the end of the semester.

Drawing is definitely not one of my favorite things to do. I like to sketch and doodle, but otherwise when I draw it is drawing to paint. I’m not sure if that makes sense. I know how to, but I don’t have a delicate touch and don’t believe I ever will. Which is exactly why I love to paint with oils.

So, because of how shaky my hands can be, I had to come up with a different method. I had enjoyed ink wash before, but wanted to add more to it so I taped off a section, gessoed it(was pissed to see that the waterproof india ink smeared a bit) and then added colored pencil. I admit, I was looking at Erik Jones work a bit and James Jean trying to figure out how they get some of their effects.

I’m not sure how I feel about what I did. I want to keep the subject in the same vein as my paintings. I just wish I could figure out how to do them well larger.

And damn colored pencils to hell! I think all the pigment in mine are cracked. I promised myself I would have a prismacolor bonfire by now but it looks like I’ll be putting that off.

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Progress of a Portrait

Alicia portrait process

Above is the thumb nailed progress shots of a portrait I recently did. This portrait went much faster than any others I have completed recently and I am trying to figure out what exactly went right.

I don’t feel that this is naturally my color palette, it feels too warm, but it is good practice. I’m pretty happy with this. I’m confidant that I captured a likeness. In fact a friend from NYC who grew up in Norfolk visited me, saw the painting and immediately recognized the model as someone she had known 15 years ago. The model’s daughters, a 4 and 5 year old, even knew it was their mom. So yeah, that felt like a victory.