Been scratching your brain and wondering, weren't you? Glad you asked!
If you go back and look at my earlier paintings, you'll see a common omission - people. Truthfully, I enjoyed letting the viewer put themselves into the painting, or even putting characters into it and telling the story THEY saw happening. But it also glaringly highlighted what intimidated the hell out of me - actually PAINTING people.
The last picture I drew of someone was Darryl in study hall in high school way more years ago than I care to admit. It wasn't until just recently that I dabbled in figures and faces; the first one being the little boy with his disastrous ice cream incident. Fun to do, scary for sure, but if you look at it, very safe, simple and restrained. The second attempt was the painting of the boys in front of the radio. This painting was more complex and it was difficult to try to convey different emotions. Even harder was to LET LOOSE of my typical reservations and really be creative with the paint.
A week ago, I had to go to Tappahannock to drop off some paintings. I was sick, felt terrible and just wanted to get my errands done. I had a plan and .......as always..... I stick to it. Until I saw the hunters. They were in the opposite direction of where I was heading and I glanced back in my rear view mirror at the group.
"Will you take the step?" Loud and clear I heard the silent inquiry. Change of plan and in that moment I turned around and headed back to them. They were friendly and welcoming and after introducing myself and what I do, they agreed to let me come back after my errands and photograph them for a future painting.
At first they were stiff and posing for the camera, but because I was sick and didn't want to get too near, I stood back and just let the camera click as we talked. They seemed to forget that I was photographing them and I got several shots and their friendships played out in front of me. It was a joy to spend those brief moments in time with them.
"Toe To Toe" The blank canvas and the challenge of composition, figures, emotion, telling the story. I can't explain what happened next, only that it did. I leapt. From 3 photos, this incredibly fun painting has formed itself. It grew, it breathed, it laughed, it tells the story of that moment in time. It tells the story of 3 generations of hunters and the friendship they share.
"Leap Of Faith" Not one person, not 3, but FOUR figures, each totally different and interacting with each other. Four personalities, four emotions responding to a situation. Everything in me screamed, "YOU CAN'T DO IT" but I did it anyway. What happened for me was magical. A bridge I hadn't yet seen appeared right out of nowhere. I was Indiana Jones walking across that bridge!
Thank you to the Blagmon Hunt Club for allowing me to photograph them to create this piece.