“RiverMuse: Flood” • oil • 24hx36w
The Amazing Figure Model
This painting is the third of a series of paintings I did about the relationship of rivers and people. The last blog posts discussed “Drought” and “Life”. “RiverMuse: Flood” was created as part of a competition for a local art museum in Santa Cruz, CA. The figure was taken from a life drawing I did some years ago. The model was posed across two crates that had a lot of padding underneath her. I don’t know how she held this position for the duration of the drawing! Typically, live models pose for 20 minutes at a time between breaks. This might have been a 45 minute drawing – it took longer to paint it. Just try sitting in a position for twenty minutes without moving!
A Flood of Emotion
The house flooded behind her was taken from a house in Capitola, California. The dark clouds, her pose, the idea of a flood – made me think not only of a physical flood, but the feeling of being overwhelmed. In contrast to this emotional response, I had a real fun time painting it.
The painting was displayed at the Harrisburg Art Association in Pennsylvania in a juried show. The juror was Kathryn Calley-Galitz, who at the time was the assistant curator of 19th century, modern and contemporary art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
I will leave you with a poem:
“Looks like I’m up the creek
without a paddle”, she muttered
Overwhelmed by her time and place.
“There goes the house-
I didn’t like it anyway.
Now all my things are buried in muck –
And to think we built it on the flood plain,
Knowing full well
The River would be back again.”