Monday, March 03, 2014

A Few Words on Some of the Paintings

from the book Come to Think of It, by Janet Snell

left to right:

Come to Think of It, 20 x24”
The subject cups her chin in Thinker pose. Color moves the space around and creates depth an introspective figure might feel. The black side of the face represents as-yet-unknown thoughts; the black ledge partially obscures those thoughts, while the white protrudes as if in an attempt to escape the ledge that’s holding it back. White flows into purple, indicating a certain moodiness.

The Weight of all Misery, 16 x 20”
I was trying to integrate the head into the space it occupies, so I separated the eyes and mouth and moved them into space that was half abstract and half figurative. The mood of the painting took shape as I went.

Mouth, 20 x 24”
This painting is a lyrical metamorphosis of a head into a mouth with pink flames coming from the mouth – the flames add humor.  I titled it after a character called The Mouth, in Jean Genet’s play The Screams.

20 x 24”
This is about delusions we all have about ourselves, not psychiatric delusions. The girl at the bottom is thinking about the other figures’ delusions and keeping removed from them.

The Act of Painting, 20x24”
Plug her in and watch her go! The face is partly white, one eye black, since the artist can never completely know what she’s going to do. An image comes into my head and the brush leads. Making this painting about painting allowed for spontaneity.

The Metamorphosis of One Thing into Another,
Half the face, hidden, is echoed in the red with its holes, on the left. The leg bent behind the head – its grays move down into darkness where the hand tries to reach out. The disjointed body –the arm in the sky doesn’t really look like one – melting into shapes that are less realistic but move into the space around them, ties into the theme of metamorphosis.

He Listens to Heart Attack & Vine after a Long Time
, 20 X 24”
An homage to Tom Waits, I hope the painting captures the feel of his music. I got the colors of his face while listening to the music, and used a picture of him from an album. The pipe funnels music into his head and the red that surrounds him represents humor. It seems he always has a cigarette in his hand so that’s why I put that in, and the purple and blue are his dark side.

Witness with Apprehensive Mouth, 20x24”
This is about war. There’s a Jimi Hendrix lyric about  ‘the land so battered and torn’ that inspired the image of the brown triangle with the blood on the face. Later on I moved the gray/white from the figure’s head across the painting to make a veil –what we can’t see-and then I gave her a serious mouth.


Iulia Flame said...

I want to spend more time on this. There is an alchemic quality to the pairings of paintings and words.

Cheryl and Janet Snell said...

Thanks!This is from an article in which Janet explains her choices. She wrote little poems to go with the paintings when we made it into a book and they're quite different.

Iulia Flame said...

It's like a whole world.

Tim Buck said...

These paintings are exceptional, and I appreciate the generous commentary -- description, explanation.

Tim Buck

Cheryl and Janet Snell said...

Thank you, Tim! Glad you took a look.