Lara Wood is a darker children's picture book for older kids who will appreciate Lara's strengths and ability to conquer adversity. The book won't be out till next year some time. Meanwhile I can build up some promotion for it and let people see the amount of work that goes into such a project.
The Faces and Figures show was inspired by Bram Dijkstra's book, Naked: The Nude in America. It's been incredibly influential on me. Although I enjoyed painting nudes, I always felt awkward – a sense of guilt. No longer! The way the nude has been depicted is fraught with difficulties, but this book gave me a clear head about many issues. I second guessed myself for years. Here's a great line from the book: "Artists who refuse to assault the body with stylishly perverse psychological or physical deformations are usually dismissed as hopelessly out of tune with today's art world. In fact the rampant imagery of paranoia and obsession rife in the contemporary art world can be traced back to the Puritanism that continues to rankle the American mind. It is not the product of artists who celebrate life by celebrating the body."
So, here are two shows that combined celebrate both the mind and body of women (mostly. There will be a few naked men in the figure show). In the children's book, Lara is a strong young woman who risks her life to save a young man, not for reward or because she is told to, but because it is the right thing to do. And she stands up to a wolf, a dangerous wizard, and is able to poke fun at the idiot king, King Nimrod who builds the Tower of Babel. In the Faces and Figures show I celebrate the human face and body in many different facets. I finally got around to painting a few women I had crushes on, and painted women from figure drawing classes whose beauty had nothing to do with sexual attraction and everything to do with human beauty, not diminished by age or popular concepts of beauty. Character can be everything, along with confidence in oneself. I plan to continue painting portraits and figures, and will incorporate them into a series I call Stage 500, for which I will have a big show one day in the future.
Special thanks to the Ontario Arts Council.