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Art Show: Roots: past inspires present

Woman with Pink Hat

by Susy Keely

Banner for Roots: past inspires present art show

Art: Woman with Pink Hat by Artist Susy Keely
Well, I tried to do a painting for this show from a piece of art that I liked (old frescoes from the ruins of Pompeii) because I have always been attracted to ancient ruins etc... but it really didn't come out and I haven't been able to finish it. So instead I sat down and took a look at this painting I did this week, and decided to see if I could trace my unconscious influences... and the result is probably a much more honest conveyance of some of my "roots".

When I paint these portrait type pieces of women, I usually just sort of "make them up"... I don't draw them out first, sometimes I will use a neat photo of a face for the expression, sometimes I'll just do it with no reference at all. So anyway, it's a fairly unconsious creative process in that there is no planning. When I sat down and looked at this piece, the first thing I saw was the cover of "Pin-ups", an old David Bowie album. I was a HUGE bowie fan in my teenage years... And then looking more, I saw a resemblence in the stilted, unnatural hand positioning to the cover of "Heroes", another Bowie album.

The cover of Heroes brought me to thinking about Egon Schiele, who I was also a HUGE fan of in highschool. No doubt Bowie was too, cause I'm guessing that's where he got the hand gestures from (there is one drawing of Schiele's that is even more similar in positioning to the record cover, but I couldn't find it and you get the idea from this one). And then, thinking of Schiele, I became aware that the particular type of patterning on the woman's shirt is very much lifted from Gustav Klimt, another Austrian and contemporary of Schiele... the attached image is a detail from one of his paintings.

Then thinking about the clothes, I remembered I had a book of paper dolls with costumes from the 1920's (and this is when I was in grade school ). I searched on Amazon and found the exact book that I had - I remember the typeface on it and everything - and check out the lady on the cover... I haven't seen this book cover in probably twenty years, but I am pretty sure that this drawing was buried in my mind and came out a little here. That surprised me a lot when I saw it!

Anyway, I enjoyed this excercise of dusting off my visual memories. Often people ask if my paintings are from a model or a photo, and when the particular ones are not I say, "No, they are from my imagination".... well maybe I'll have to come up with a new way to express that! Nothing is new...

Detail Images

Detail Image for art Woman with Pink Hat

Detail Image for art Woman with Pink Hat

Detail Image for art Woman with Pink Hat


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