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21" x 16"
“Dairy Queens”. One of several first steps into narrative painting. It’s not just new subject matter, but a somewhat new process. This direction is so much fun, I can hardly stand it. Where my landscape and cityscape pieces begin with a reference photo, narrative work begins with an idea. It might begin with a photo that suggests the idea, but not in a literal way. It might begin as a dream. As a conversation. As a story. Then it’s a composite of ideas and images. It’s really a production process more of a rendering.
This piece began in a very familiar place for me: The Safeway parking lot in Astoria. (I’m not sure why I love people watching in that parking lot, but I do.)
One afternoon, two women rushed out of Safeway and climbed into an enormous pickup truck, parked a couple spaces away. There was an urgency about them. They pulled out a couple donuts and started inhaling them. They ate their donuts with the comfort and lack of self consciousness you only have in front of someone you’ve known forever—where your private self is revealed because of a deep trust. Like “dancing like nobody is watching,” but eating.
Plus they seemed to be revealing a broader appetite in one another’s presence, which was so… something? Interesting. Compelling. Fun.
They didn’t tuck themselves in at all in front of one another.
It all looked outwardly so incongruous, yet resonant. I knew there was something there I wanted to paint. I took a photo and editorialized significantly.
This is the image I saw in my mind’s eye.
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