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A difficult assignment

I was delighted to be selected as one of several artists for a local show. We were juried in based on our work...and the assignment was to use historical reference photos to capture not just the scene in the picture, but to inspire people in the region to visualize a wonderful, exciting future. That seemed difficult enough, but we were also admonished to "stretch" ourselves...and step it up a notch. We were instructed to "not just copy the photos." Now, I looked around the room (at the slightly startled faces)..these were well known artists, who are known for a certain style/voice in painting (generally landscape painters...some figurative painters...all fairly realistic)...and now we were being asked to either move out of that voice...or improve that voice. Strange. Naturally, there was a flurry of emails. I for one decided...hmm...I am most likely not going to try to change my voice for one is just too difficult to try to pursue what I am pursuing to derail the process...nor am I going to put some gimmick in the painting...
So from the allotted photos (snap shots, really) I chose one based on composition and values...not on historical relevance. I could have course painted this old gas station and hid a new Prius or gas saving car in the emphasize the evolution from gas a new future. But instead, I am just aiming to let the viewer take a moment and wonder where this was taken...who the indistinct person is...etc. I always like mystery more than the obvious. Oh, well...this is an experiment. And despite the rocky has been fun to at least think about the challenge, even though I will "do it my way." (This is not the finished work...just today's start.)

2 Responses to A difficult assignment

The moody quality of this painting brings alive all
those strange photos stuck in boxes of people no longer here and people we never knew. Probably one of the most evocative paintings you have ever done.
The assignment may have been poorly presented but you bypassed the directions with extraordinary flair. Janice, you never cease to amaze me...

Mary Marquiss
I think this painting is incredible - on so many levels! The assignment may have been challenging, but I think this is a jewel. It takes me to another time - with a sense of mystery. It also feels like the cover of a great book.

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