“Blue Angels” Acrylic On Canvas (36″ x 48″) High-res Image Available
“Blue Angels” is a large, acrylic / canvas painting that offers an abstract experience when viewed up close, but at a distance becomes an interesting example of photo-realism. It is the fourth in a series of works that utilizes exaggerated half-tone techniques – with each square hand-painted by the artist – to create this unique effect. Ironically, the greater the viewing distance, the clearer the detail.
“This painting demonstrates the importance of being able to stand back and look at the big picture. Sometimes, we become so immersed in the close-at-hand details that we forget the larger truths and God’s greater plan. When we step back, if only for a moment, the small things add up and show us something interesting. That’s true of all of my works, but it’s especially true with ‘Blue Angels’ because there’s a great story behind this piece.”
The original image was captured on an early low-resolution digital camera. Taken at a business convention, it shows two female models who were wearing angel wings, in a cafeteria line, deciding on what to order. (A difficult choice at a convention, where selections are few and ridiculously over-priced.) Neither one is topless; they are wearing what could be best described as swimsuit tops.
“I didn’t speak to them, it was just a public-place snapshot. I thought the angel wings were interesting. My decision to explore this image was subsequently based on their facial expressions, and a bit of frosting in the hair of the right-hand model. Instead of deciding what to have for lunch, they could be a couple of real-life angels looking down upon a world that is full of people who need help… and where do they begin?
Sometimes I think they are looking at me – they are my angels, assigned to me, and sighing, now what? After a life of adventure and close calls, I’m reasonably convinced that I do, in fact, have a flock of angels riding on my shoulder. (I mention them in the song ‘Lawrenceberg.’) Among themselves, as in any good platoon, they know who is best equipped to deal with my latest foolishness and the current situation. I give them all a workout along the way – enough to give any angel a streak of grey – and they’re pretty good at what they do. They throw me little miracles every day just to remind me that they’re on the bridge, and for the practice.
I wanted to know if their expression would come through after applying the half-tone technique, and I was pleased to see that it did – along with that streak of frosting. The title reflects the fact that the image is of two angels, and the paint is blue, of course, but it’s also a reference to the U.S. Navy demonstration team, the Blue Angels; I used to hang out with them at airshow VIP barbecues when I served as crew on Commemorative Air Force aircraft.”
“Blue Angels” was once deliberately displayed by an art show curator to prevent it from being viewed properly, from a distance. “I entered it into a little art show and carefully explained that the painting needed to be hung in a large room, so people could step back and see the image. She reviewed her impressive art show credentials with me and assured me that she understood it completely. I attended the opening and found the painting hanging in a narrow hallway, and the viewer could get no further than two feet away. At that distance, it’s totally abstract. Why, why, why? I wondered, would a highly-qualified curator do this to me? The answer had to do with what the angels are wearing – the art committee had, in fact, viewed it at a distance and decided that there was nudity, or at the very least, people would see nudity. At the time, I was a little disappointed with their decision, but over time, I’ve seen a bigger picture. Their solution had a degree of elegance – instead of refusing the piece outright, after having first accepted it – all they had to do was hang it in the hallway by the bathroom and nobody would see the … whatever. I thought the curator should put on her resume, ‘Deliberately showed painting to worst advantage’ or something like that. Like it or not, it is on her resume, at least her private one, but I’ll give her points for playing well to her audience. Now, I see an even bigger picture: she gave me a fun little story to go with this painting, and that makes it better. So, thanks – really – for hanging it in that bathroom hallway.”
This painting is currently in the artist’s collection and hangs at the Houdini School of Music & Dance in Boyne City, Michigan. Viewing by appointment
Original Painting For Sale or Rent: Contact the artist