Sunday, February 04, 2024

Saying Something Difficult

What struck me was tremendous loss while reading the CNN article,“She was fleeing with her grandson, who was holding a white flag. Then she was shot.” In intimate words and pictures the senseless event was  described by the women's surviving family members. 

Immediately I knew the murdered woman was of a pure heart and devoted to her family. I know Middle Eastern families and have friends in Egypt so the story felt more personal to me. 

I decided to create a painting and used AI to help visualize the scene. AI did a great job cobbling together a visual narrative. I combined images to arrive at a “sketch” of the painting I wanted to make.

I wanted to show the war-torn street in Gaza, with rubble and bombed buildings . . . and a dead woman sprawled across the road. The other part is the little boy with his white flag of surrender and peace, holding the hand of his grandmother. For some reason, I chose to portray the picture as witness to the moments before and after the tragedy occurred.

When I start  a painting in the “old” style of art, where I am depicting a realistic scene, I make a drawing on canvas, and underpainting with limited color. A full fledged piece arrives that includes all elements of color, drawing and subject. 

After getting my drawing on canvas, when I began the underpainting, I dripped some red⏤symbolizing life and death in art. I  felt sure as I worked, knowing the subject was not coming out of any thought of material gain. It is not pleasing fluff ready for any wall in a home. Rather, I had deep feeling of doing something meaningful, saying something difficult that needed to be said.

In the end, it became an unusual painting for me. It is suspended in a semi-finished state . . . life interrupted. The colors are gone except for some streaks of blood, while the dear, innocent subjects live in a wasteland. I paid homage.

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