Since 1974, every one of my paintings has been signed differently, a technique that is certainly contrary to the norm. While this has been my modus operandi over the years, I had never given it much thought until recently when I started reflecting on how my unique way relates to the entire concept of artists’ signatures in general.
This symbolic painting depicts the meeting of two opposites. Taking place in a desolate landscape, the personification of matter rises from the ground, reaching out to a celestial force.
On casual observation, one sees the subject of this painting to be a beautiful woman wading on the ocean shoreline; however, there is much more to it! Viewing with careful scrutiny reveals a mystery hidden in plain sight. The true concept behind this artwork is the phenomenon known as Pareidolia - seeing familiar shapes in unexpected places where none actually exist.
This 24” square piece is all that remains of a huge 4’ x 8’ background painting, originally created for my 1982 animated short film, Encounter. It was the largest painting I had ever made, but unfortunately an 8’ wide painting was just too impractical to keep! After finishing the movie, I cut it down drastically and kept only the best portion.
For a long period, I was focused on my animation career and family life leaving little time or energy for painting. Except for a few quick studies, I had not made any serious personal paintings for about 18 years! Then, in 2010, I decided to end my dormant period and get back to the easel! The plan was to begin in a small and simple manner in order to bring my skills up to speed; therefore, I started with this piece which I entitled Gypsy Dancer.
They climbed up and up. He opened his eyes, and ventured to look around him. By this time they were already level with the top of the outer rampart of precipices. There now came in sight a wild archipelago of islands, with jagged outlines, emerging from a sea of air. The islands were mountain summits; or, more accurately speaking, the country was a high tableland, fissured everywhere by narrow and apparently bottomless cracks. These cracks were in some cases like canals, in others like lakes, in others merely holes in the ground, closed in all round. The perpendicular sides of the islands—that is, the upper, visible parts of the innumerable cliff faces—were of bare rock, gaudily coloured; but the level surfaces were a tangle of wild plant life. -David Lindsay, A Voyage to Arcturus, 1920
This moment described in David Lindsay's visionary novel A Voyage to Arcturus was the inspiration for one of my earliest paintings, entitled Idawn, which I completed in 1975 at the age of 19. It depicts characters Oceaxe and Maskull riding a flying snake-like creature called a shrowk over the land of Ifdawn. Clearly, there are a lot of bizarre names in Lindsay's book!