Gift of Innocence is a new addition to my series, Visionaries: My Tribute to the Innovators of Fine Art. Here, I re-imagine the artistry of the English Neo-Classicist painter, John William Godward (1861-1922). Simple Gift features Godward’s 1906 sumptuous painting, Violets, Sweet Violets.
My version presents a postcard of the original taped to a mottled wall above a sconce of miniature violets.
Every museum store in the world carries postcards of their most popular works. I have dozens of these cards featuring every style of painting imaginable.
In my new series, Visionaries: My Tribute to the Innovators of Fine Art, I explore the artistry of these painters - marrying their iconic images with both abstract backgrounds and ultra-realistic still life objects to create something entirely new.
Gift of Innocence was an opportunity for me to flex my figural painting muscles and inject portraiture into my usual still life realism and abstract work.
In many ways, painting a person is the same process as painting a still life. I have to evaluate everything: the colors, the angles, and the light, just as I would a bowl of fruit or objects. The fun challenge for me is to then take this analysis and use it to recreate the texture of clothing, the feel of hair, and the glow of living tissue.
My signature touches are still present, of course. In addition to the abstract background, I used the trompe l’oeil optical illusion for the painted tape and postcard. (They look real and affixed to the canvas, but they aren’t! The effects are all rendered with paint.)