Legacy of the Lines
Every small town has a history – a story. My hometown of Sutton, West Virginia is no exception. Representing this community’s story through the lives of five influention seniors, I painted portraits of their present selves, relaying his or her past by focusing on enlarged portions of their skin. The paintings’ focus on lines and wrinkles represent the life experiences that define the each subjects existence.
Before the painting process began, I spent time with each individual to gain insight into their life in Sutton. Tales of struggles, happiness, hard work and love reoccured during the interview process and I used multiple layers of oil paint to capture the folded hands, conversational gestures or ornery grins that accompanied these anecdotes.
To further emphasize the breakdown of one’s history, I sanded away painted detail and layers to reveal the very base – the exposed wood. By allowing the wood grain to break through and breaking down traditional realism techniques I tried to enliven a sense of abstraction that plays off the wood grain. The wood grain further expresses character through the lines created by an aged tree, similar to the wrinkles and fine lines that define that elder’s personality.
Each painting expresses a distinctive character while also mainiting common qualities like passion and perserverance, thus representing the community that I value. Accessing the history of those around me has not only helped to emphasize my own personal triumphs and failures, but represents Sutton’s heritage as well.