I love artists that paint from the gut. What grabs my attention?

Inspired lines or shapes
Value contrasts
Unusual, or almost "not-quite-right" compositions
Strong brush strokes
Electrifying use of colour
Irony or satire
Humour, sometimes black

Illustrators and political cartoonists are regularly shoved aside when conversations about "great art" arise but many are extremely technically proficient and highly imaginative.

As mentioned in a previous blog post, I have been a fan of Ralph Steadman for many years. I am seduced by his every line, shape, and splotch of colour. Steadman is a master at engaging the unconscious to finish what is purposefully left incomplete.  

In general, It's not so much the all-inclusive production of artists that inspires me but rather singular works, which suddenly and often unexpectedly spark a reaction.

The only exposure I had to to art as a child was via art books hidden on the lower shelves of the school library or my dad's LIFE magazines. I was initially surprised to discover that nudity was pervasive in art and admired throughout history. There were even paintings and sculptures of nudes in the city where the pope lived!  

Phone doodle
Fun with the phone doodle

Another revelation? Art could be ugly and in fact, had to be if its primary purpose was to shoo away evil spirits. 

And still another revelation? 

Art could be wild, figures disproportionate, brushstrokes fat! 

More fun with the phone doodle

Artists that loved and mastered "drawing" always held a particular fascination: Käthe Kollwitz, Egon Schiele, Rembrandt. I marvelled at the sensitivity they expressed. 

Leonardo da Vinci revealed his talents in many sketches.  Beautiful examples?  Head of a Roaring Lion  and  Heads of Two Soldiers.

I fell in love with Picasso's painting of Two Women Running on a Beach. The lumbering twosome embodied the epitome of freedom. 

SUCH LIBERATING INFORMATION!  Scientia potentia est.  My inner censor went "poof" as I learned about those that came before. 

I began enlarging hands and feet. Large feet in particular, tend to ground a figure.  Extremities kept growing, yielding a foot harvest and one gloriously dangerous masseuse.

Seven Big Foot Sisters

La Masseuse