Monday, January 25, 2010

First painting of Phase II complete

I feel like I’ve been living like a hermit for the past few months. Better to save you from my misery and post less than post at all. After nearly three month of languishing over The Feast of Bacchus, it is complete. Nine portraits in one 5’ X 6’ piece, this particular feast is filled with volunteers from the portrait painted project and I’d like to thank each of them for participating. Rather than call them out individually, I’ll just say “you know who you are and thanks for being the first— of what I hope to be many—guinea pigs.”

For those of you who know me personally, you know I really hate waxing intellectual about art. I don’t feel you need a master’s degree to paint (obvious since I don’t have one) nor do I feel you need to know anything about art to appreciate and talk about it. Viewers should be able to look at something and say “I like this” or “this is fucking garbage” and that should be sufficient. However, what I would like for people to take away from any experience of seeing a painting they enjoy is a desire to see more, to learn more, to be inspired more. More. More. More.

History has left behind some fantastic artists and thus fantastic paintings. The original painting, found here, by Velazquez is by far one of my favorites from the Baroque painters. This painting is generally referred to as “The Drunkards” and the reason I chose this as the first painting in this part of the series is that Bacchus, in the world of mythology, is known as the god of wine, propagator of the grapevine and a provider of joy. Alcohol was then (as now) a much beloved rescue for the common man in the street, and as such Bacchus was considered to brighten the lives of ordinary people. It seemed fitting as a first choice for a project focused on painting the “every person” (I know I too grow tired of the quotations, but bare with me) enjoying a bit of rescue.

Of course, the other relevance I see is that as the individuals in the original are depicted congregating to eat, drink and be merry, so do we congregate daily on such social networking sites as Facebook, Twitter, etc. Yeah, yeah ok, so we don’t exactly eat or drink online, but in a figurative sense, we do. Coming together on a daily basis with people we may or may not know in life and soak up the excesses via an online social networking so to do we feast.

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