The Work is Finished

FINISHED PAINTING
 
Reference photo

 

It is obvious there is a notable difference between my finished painting and my reference photo….two almost invisible footprints have been added in the painted piece!  Here is the story of why I put them there—–

 

Garbage is being dumped every day in our streams, rivers, and oceans and I am compelled to record this situation in my current body of work.  The particular oil painting you see above is based on one of more than 100 photos taken of trash I found along the beach outside of Hoi An, Vietnam. As I quietly painted, I realized that there just has to be a story to tell about each of these remnants of plastic, rubber, and other such waste.
When I first began the painting on a blank 55″ x 55″ piece of gessoed watercolor paper, I intended to paint just a shredded flip-flop stuck in the sand. As I neared completion of the work, the news of protests emerging from Egypt, Libya, Wisconsin, etc., and also reports of some of the protesters dying in the Middle East, became incredibly disturbing and created in me an immense sense of sadness and loneliness.  I began to also be aware that my painting was lacking something and was empty except for the one flip-flop in the center of the page.

 

Slowly, I conjectured a story surrounding the black flip-flop I was reproducing on paper.  It could have belonged to someone who died for a cause.  I then felt compelled to add the two faint footprints in the sand heading to the bottom of the paper–thereby implying that the person who had worn this tattered flip-flop could stand up and walk away to reclaim her/his inalienable right to freedom.
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