Wednesday, April 6, 2022
I find myself so fascinated by archeology that, at some point, I may create an entirely new body of work. It's all very speculative, but it is very exciting for me, and I wanted to share it now.
Thursday, February 17, 2022
Arvie Smith (born 1938) is a nationally recognized African American painter based in my hometown of Portland, Oregon.
|Arvie Smith, Ease on Down the Road, 30x22|
There is a nice little bio of him here on the Hallie Ford Museum website, where he is having an exhibition from January 22- March 26th, 2022.
Smith's work is so, so, so many things.
|Arvie Smith, Dem Golden Slippers, 2007 68x68|
|Arvie Smith, Steppin' Out, 30x22|
The figures in his paintings shift from being vivid individuals, to embodying biting racist tropes, and back again. He celebrates Black culture and tradition, and in the same image crams racist symbols from the larger, white dominated culture. These images live side by side in the same painting, which is what I imagine it may be like for African Americans every day, all day long.
|Arvie Smith BestMan 2016 72x60|
|Arvie Smith, Honkie Tonk, 68x78 2015|
Seeing these paintings on your tiny phone or desk top will in no way indicate what it is like to see them in person. They fairly leap off the wall at you, and they seem to pulse with color and light.
His website is here: www.arviesmith.com
|Arvie Smith Scare Crow 2016 60x48|
|Arvie Smith, Trial of Tears 68x60|
|Arvie Smith 68x60 diptic right|
She glances out the back window at a waiting yellow taxi. Who is it that pursues her and why?
|©lesliepetersonsapp Pursuit 24x48|
This is a piece that went through many changes. Originally I had multiple people in the street scene as if there where a bunch of people milling around. But as things developed I could see the figures were just a distraction from the real drama. I even considered taking out the figure near the door and just leaving the car- I still don’t know if I made the right choice. Don’t be surprised if you see another version of this one. (I often feel compelled to do certain images again and again.)
This one was just really fun. I loved working with the street light creating a cone of a lighter color. The back window of her vehicle creates a frame within a frame, and the dark color flows into her silhouetted profile and the buildings on the street. I tried to make a contrast with the bright yellow, the cool watercolor blues, and the flat dark brown/black.
Keep your eye open for a woodcut version of this piece!
Tuesday, February 1, 2022
In my current work in progress, I have been toying around with a bright window behind my protagonist. This is inspired by the great Leland Bell.
*I should note that there is another artist named Leland Bell who's work is inspired from his Native American heritage, and his work looks very different than the Leland Bell I am referring to.
|Leland Bell, Morning III 1985 Acrylic on canvas, 62x43|
|Leland Bell, Frank O'Brian, 1979, Acrylic on canvas, 24x32|
|Leland Bell, Morning II 1985 Acrylic on canvas, 74x58|
|Leland Bell, Skull and Plant, 1978, Acrylic on canvas 40x42|
|Leland Bell, Three Figures with Butterfly 1979-82, 52x102|
|Leland Bell, Ulla and Frank Playing Cards, 1975-78, Oil on canvas, 52x64|
I love the way he simplifies, his use of that heavy black line, and his compositions. I refer to him often as I am working on my art.
|Leland Bell, Morning V 1985 Acrylic on canvas 71x56|
|Ulla, Temma, and Frank, 1978, Oil on canvas, 72x66|
Thursday, December 9, 2021
|©lesliepetersonsapp Incogito 10x8 Acrylic on panel|
In conversation about classic film noir, a common subject is that actors and actresses of color were relegated into narrow stereotyped roles, often as domestic servants of white protagonists. But of course, this didn’t just happen in the movies, it happened in real life, too. African Americans had limited opportunities and were often employed as domestics in white households. What individuality was denied or hidden?
I see a dynamic, powerful, sexy woman who has to masquerade as a demure, uniformed domestic by day- but who knows what mischief or adventures she may be involved in after hours.
And... who knows what she may know about her employers…?
Sunday, December 5, 2021
Today is the last day of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. In celebration of this, I am featuring Marc Chagall.
|Marc Chagall The Birthday 1915|
|Marc Chagall I and the Village 1911|
|Marc Chagall The Fiddler 1913|
His subject matter is wide and free-wheeling, and although he was not a practicing Jew, he wove images of the memories of his Hasidic upbringing in Belarus when he was young.
|Marc Chagall Solitude 1933|
I love the air of mystery, sadness, joy, romance and spiritualism that his work combines. Maybe someday I will get there, too!
|Aleko and-His Wife Zemphira from an Old Russian Tale|
|Marc Chagall Blue Village 1975|
|Marc Chagall The Circus 1964|