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SPARRING WITH BELLOWS
posted: October 9, 2008
Unintentionally, this painting is based on a composition that George Bellows used a few times . . . maybe more than a few. I first took note of the composition in a favorite Bellows painting called A Day in June (below). What a pleasure it was to see this painting in real time, and others like it, when it was recently shown in New York (December 07). The figures are gathered low, along the bottom of the picture plane, gathered in rhythmic intervals, layered one on top of another, subtle gestures moving, balanced and counter balanced. The activity continues, as well as multiple narratives, as your eye moves up the picture plane and the painted environment reaches deep into space. A heavy mass of foliage contains the figures and frames a New York building, which rises in the distance, peaking high through the trees. The central figure with her parasol stands, curiously, on the edge of the picture. almost along the pictures frame. She strikes a graceful and deliberate pose. Beautiful. I’m noticing now that the police officer in my painting mimics the feel and gesture of the woman in white. If so, it wasn’t intentional. Bellows brilliance is elusive. At times his work can feel crude . . . swipes and smudges, but ultimately it gives way to an overall integrity and subtly. His vigor and power is unmatched. I can imagine Bellows working, not unlike Jackson Pollack, attacking his composition, relying on rhythm, feeling, and color harmonies rather then refined technical passages. It’s described that Bellows was concerned with quantity and the quality take care of itself. 
A DAY IN JUNE, BELLOWS...
ANOTHER SIMILAR BELLOWS COMP. NOT SURE OF THE PAINTINGS TITLE...
5 comments
Nancy Stahl October 9, 2008
Nice painting, Peter..! I keep going back to look at the cop in the dark shirt with his head in shadow. Really beautiful. And Bellows, a real favorite. Thanks for sharing these.
Marc October 9, 2008
Nice work, Peter. Bellows is a favorite; the light in "Day in June" is the work of a master.
Peter Cusack October 10, 2008
Hey thanks for coming by and leaving a comment Nance, Marc and Tim. Tim, I would imagine that a boxing series would consume you. You know it so well . . . from the inside out. For me, it fascinates me as a spectator and for all the imagery that you mentioned in your comment. Photos of Ali are particularly stunning because of how beautiful he was . . . sculpted and graceful. For me, there is also something particularly engaging about the way his aggression is captured. For some reason Im always surprised and caught by it. Blue Horizon sounds great. This is a good tip. I've been trying to think of a ways to deepen my research. The feel you describe is exactly what I'm looking for. Thanks. I'll create a few close ups and post them this afternoon. Thanks again for your support . . . truly.
David Zegert October 15, 2008
Peter- very nice- did you use yourself as reference? Am I seeing things or you several times in this piece. As I am sure you know, Rockwell used himself many times in his work. best-D
peter October 15, 2008
LOL D No i didn't use myself at all except for the body on the victor . . . lol. I am for sure in all these characters. Im the cop, the security gaurd, the little head in the background, and both the victor and the fighter whose defeated. It's definitely a "me" painting. mmmm Deeep. Thanks D for leaving a comment . . . that was a good one!!!!
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