Oil on canvas.
Ten years ago I began a painting inspired by the long history of artists painting a reclining female figure. From the Greco-Roman subjects, such as Titian’s Venus, to the many versions of Arabic concubines, including Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres Grand Odalisque and Edouard Manet’s Olympia. Yet, it was Henri Matisse’s Odalisque that picked my desire to include the flowing striped fabric of the comforter in the painting. The original background was of two walls and a night stand, which I left for over seven years.
One day I looked at the painting and was moved to change the background. At the same time I began learning of the life and works of Henri Rousseau, including his many paintings related to dreams. It was his The Sleeping Gypsy that led to my desire of adding the cats (in tribute to Rousseau’s lion) and the bright moon with a sulfuric light. At the same time I re-experienced the creations of Marc Chagall. Like Rousseau, Chagall created a large body of work suggesting a dream world, especially his figures floating above cityscapes (including Over The Town with his birthplace of Vitebsk, Russia and Paris Through the Window). These two artists quickly allowed me to completely change the background … a night sky above with the cityscape below.
There is so much more to share in how this work evolved over the last decade, for that I will continue in my next post.