in Search of
September 11, 2001
Innocence in Search of
Acrylic, 36" x 48"
The night of
September 10, I worked in my studio. Occasionally, across several years, I
had returned to the theme of American Holidays to inspire me and to give a
focus to my work. I finally summoned the courage to start a tribute
painting to the Fourth of July. I had some reference photos and some
compositional sketches that I had drawn and saved. The picture was to be a
young boy leaving home with his trusty dog; the flag, waving in the wind,
had become furled around the flag pole. I spent that day drawing in the
composition on my canvas, and that night, while I should have slept, I
painted my vision in my head.
The morning of
September 11, I saw the terrible events on the television. I had visited
the World Trade Center several times. I would take the Path Train from New
Jersey to Manhattan and exit at the WTC. It was a large, modern structure,
and yet it had an atmosphere of hospitality. The courtyard was always full
hours, that morning, I was too stunned to do anything, and then finally I
went out to my studio, to lose myself in my work. When I opened the studio
door and saw the canvas, I was stunned. It is a matter of interpretation,
but as I looked at the flag it now appeared to be at half-mast, rather
than furled. My young boy wasn’t just going exploring, but rather
entering a new, dangerous world. I envisioned a mother behind the screen
door, separated away from her son. A television set plays the horrors of
the event in the window. The animals are aware of each other and their
adversarial roles, and the plants are in-memoriam, weeping willows,
lilies, and others bursting like fireworks.
As I look back
at this painting, I see things that I might would like to change, but I
cannot. It is an honest document of feeling about a horrible historical
Oil on Linen, 36" x 48"
After 9-11 and Innocence in Search of
Experience, I was interested in the fact that my world had changed,
but for young children this would be the only world they know.
I felt that although their activities would be the same as past
generations, there was something special about documenting their lives.
Oil Sketch, 16" x 20"
I started by making oil sketches in
Terra Rosa on warm grounds. The effect was like The after-image that
is seen after staring into the sun on a bright summer day. It is a
traditional underpainting technique, which can be the beginning steps in
creating a painting. I liked the idea of a beginning painting technique,
the beginning of a new millennium, the beginning of a new world, and the
beginning of young lives.
As I work on the series, I hope to see
the work develop from sketches to more completed works. Paintings of
full color that record a new and beautiful world.
-- Ray M.
Oil Sketch, 16" x 20"