This week I’m both proud (and wee bit nervous) to share something different with you: the beginnings of a new series of work called "Fly Masks."
First, a note on what may initially look like blindfolded horse paintings...
Fly masks, though odd looking things, actually help protect the horse’s face and ears from pesky, biting, disease spreading flies and insects. Especially in the summer months.
If you know how annoying one or two flies buzzing around your face can be, imagine if you had no hands to wave one hundred flies away, and you get an idea of what a horse might go through, sans mask.
And if you happen to be wondering, just like I was, the answer is yes—the horse can indeed see through them because they're made of mesh.
I'm using the masks here as a more universal symbol for protecting oneself from excessive, outside "irritants and distractions." Something that helps invite small doses of calm and focus into one's life.
These pieces were also born out of a much bigger artistic gauntlet I recently threw down in the studio...
A few weeks ago, I challenged myself to completely leave the comfort and familiarity of doing detailed animal eyes and faces, and attempt to create an animal portrait that was (hopefully) still compelling.
I basically removed what I’ve been told is the heart of my work for the last 15 years—the animal's expression—to see what developed in it's place.
No biggie. Just a little artistic terror.
But that's exactly why I did it. It's become crystal clear to me that the only way to grow as an artist is to continually push myself outside the line of what I know. Even though the urge to scurry back into the familiar is a weirdly strong one.
So I'm proud of this work precisely because I resisted that urge.
Here are the first three pieces from my first painting series in over a decade. Hope you enjoy them...
A few more pieces are in the works. If you'd like to sign up for my newsletter, the next round will be sent straight to your inbox.
Thanks so much for reading,