Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pip Meets the Aged P
12 x 14 Oil on Panel

After I left the classroom (you don't graduate from the League you leave whenever you are ready) I stopped painting figures for awhile. I had painted portraits and nudes week after week for many years and wanted to paint something else. Besides I didn't have enough money to hire models to pose for me privately. So I painted landscapes and still lifes. Still life quickly became my favorite subject because of the endless possibilities in composition . Before long I began to think about painting figures again and figure composition. It didn't go much farther than a few doodles on the subway on a religious or mythological theme. Then a gallery in Connecticut called and asked if I wanted to participate in a Dickens themed exhibition. I quickly batted out a painting of Scrooge counting his miserly fortune. I had done many paintings of single figures so that wasn't so hard. Then decided to do a small composition. I was reading, or more exactly rereading, Great Expectations at the time so I took my theme from there. I always had a great fondness for the Aged P, Wemmick's moniker for his aging parent, so I painted the scene where Wemmick brings Pip home to meet his father.

"You wouldn't mind being at once introduced to the Aged, would you? It wouldn't put you out?" I expressed the readiness I felt and we went in. There we found, sitting by a fire, a very old man in a flannel coat: clean, cheerful, comfortable, and well cared for, but intensely deaf. "Here's Mr. Pip, aged parent," said Wemmick, "and I wish you could hear his name. Nod away at him, Mr. Pip; that's what he likes. Nod away at him, if you please.....

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