“Years Later, I Stopped Looking for Places to Hide From Her”: Session 1

I started a new work today. The image comes from this sketch, which is a pencil drawing I did from a photo by photographer Clifford Richards of the Steven and Harriette Meyers House. The Meyer’s Residence was once a stop on the underground Railroad, and a local organization is currently fundraising to renovate the house and make it a historical site and cultural center. It is located on Livingston Ave in Albany:

Here is my beginning sketch (with my prompt for the larger piece, which I will talk about in a moment):

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Now, I have always believed that as an artist, one needs to find a way to connect to the emotional content of the work you are creating. Since pre Civil war as an era of history is a little beyond the scope of my experience, I used a prompt to get me thinking about the piece. The title refers to a period in my early twenties when I had to withdraw from school to tend to my health. At the same time, a pretty serious relationship had ended, and my former fiancee had made some pretty wild accusations about my behavior. As a result of that I developed a strangely specific anxiety about meeting my former partner in public places. I began mistaking almost any petite girl with dark hair that bore a passing resemblance for my former partner. Agoraphobia, if you call it that, or any related phobia of that sort is pretty balls. Panic attacks suck.

The prompt may be about a pretty dismal time in my life, but it’s hopeful, because it suggests that that fear passed with time.

Anyway, before the picture of my first session with the piece: I needed to let the first coat of paint dry before I continued to build the colors. I made the pitch of the stairs less steep, and opened up the fore-ground (see original sketch). I hope to continue to work on this piece throughout the week. If I make some progress, I’ll share it here:

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The work is large, acrylic on canvas. It is very much a work in progress.

9.10.13

So, session two. I am building the colors and darkening the painting. I feel like the contrast has to be made even greater. Here is the work after session two:

 

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