Frequently my paintings slowly reveal themselves over many months. This painting has been particularly directive. The image began coming to consciousness in February of 2012 when I “saw” a huge winged horse and “heard” someone (I think the horse) saying, “I want to be seen and I want to be huge.”
So I laid out two tape measures on the ground until I saw the proportion and size that I sensed was being called for. Thanks to my son Kevin's willingness to contribute a day to this project, I ended up with the 89x67" canvas that was needed.
The first incarnation had somewhat silly-looking-to-me wings, so I painted the wings out and waited to see what would happen. As you can see, between February and May I failed to document the painting in of background shapes and the creation of a sense of “night.” During that time I “saw“ the horse with a rider crouched atop it in jockey position, but dressed somewhat like a knight in armor with sword. I painted that in.
The wings, however, remained persistent, and I was soon painting out the rider and adding different, more fantastical wings. I next “saw” an eagle riding the horse and “heard” that it wanted to take the rider's position. So I painted the eagle in, only to soon “hear” that it wanted its wings to be encircling the chest of the horse. The wings then wanted to be colorful.
When trying to place the eagle's facial features atop the horse's brow, I stuck a close-up photo there, and so liked the bizarreness of its framed image, that it stayed there until early November when I began to respond to my recent exposure in Dallas to ninety of my favorite portrait painter Lucian Freud's paintings.
At that time (see 11/.2.12–11.10.12) I removed the photo and began re-delineating the horse's head while carefully studying photos of Lucian Freud's Grey Gelding 2008. You can see the source photos of Freud's work resting on my ladder (see 11.8 & 9.12) and a poster of his famous nude self-portrait on my studio wall to the left of the painting. Freud's work never ceases to awe and inspire me.
The eagle face photo didn't stay gone for long and is intermittently being taken off the painting as I begin working and then stuck back on the horse's forehead as I finish working for a day.
During December the eagle's wings with leafy ribbons wrapping the horse's chest began to trouble me. By the end of 2012 I had painted new, vibrant orange translucent upper wings and was thinking about removing the multi-colored ribbons.
In mid-January 2013 I tried tinting the ribbon's colors to see if that would suffice and by month's end had painted them out completely, while also enhancing and enriching the background patterning. By mid-February the horse's body was calling to be more in proportion to its revised face, so the 2.13.13 view shows the beginning of that effort.
With so much of the painting returned to whites, I'm experiencing both frustration and puzzlement, wondering what will become of it and when this journey together will end.
Check back if you're also curious.