A guest blog post by Artist Elizabeth Fox on her oil painting inspiration > Find inspiration in the process behind five narratives.
By Elizabeth Fox
I find the gut will let me know if something is working or not. In a state of awareness there is no static answer but free flow of being. The gut, intuition. Are these forms of awareness?
We are attached to ideas and thoughts that we’ve seen or heard about or had on our own, all part of our consciousness. But what is it that guides me to use some of these things when creating art? Why do I use a certain subject or composition or sense of space?
You can strike the right chord with mood and references. Sometimes I’ll see a scene all in one piece and other times it comes together bit by bit. It’s like being a filter through which your own universe can speak and show itself to you. All of these things that I collect are the seed of something that will come into being.
Oil Painting #1: The Lemur Dancers
I got the idea for the oil painting “The Lemur Dancers” from an H & M commercial in which the models were hanging from a tree. Earlier I was thinking about painting accountants crawling around and thought it would be great if they were in a weird place instead of an office, an opposite place. So at first when I saw the commercial, I thought oh, accountants in a tree. That would be great. But then they morphed into an animalistic sexual display incorporating dance moves. So then I thought about making the face like an animal, not a mask, and they have uniform outfits like real dancers. It also incorporates a surreal Mexican aspect, which may creep in from my Mexican heritage.
Oil Painting #2: American Muscle
“American Muscle” is a daydream from my studio window. This piece came all at once like a vision. An American muscle car is parked out back and a young man is seated with a black envelope on the table which brought bad news. His mother is at the door receiving that same bad news, and his sister is in the pantry with that same bad news at her feet. His car is left behind. Is the man seated still with us?
Oil Painting #3: The Raccoon Queens
This came from a joke made on my favorite podcast, “Rupaul’s What’s the Tee.” A guest and Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio made a joke with Michelle Visage about how “she called me a raccoon not because of my makeup but because she caught me going through her trash.” So I saw the whole thing together. Drag queens as raccoons in the garbage, but really in the garbage, with full gowns on. Bianca Del Rio in red, Alyssa Edwards in yellow, Katya in blue, and Alaska in purple with raccoon faces and hands wreaking havoc in this suburban driveway.
Oil Painting #4: Venus at the Laundromat
I love Botticelli, so this is my take on a Venus in a modern-day setting at the Suds & Duds. Instead of a huge amount of hair covering a nude, it’s a lemon patterned sheet or bundle of laundry covering her. Timeless beauty in an everyday setting. I had all the elements in mind and used references to flesh out the details.
Oil Painting #5: She Becomes Light
A reflection of the same girl — when she hits the light, she’s floating. Darkness cannot survive the light; a symbol for presence in a moment is light cutting through darkness; another symbol for the moment is to meditate on a flower. “Look at the lily, it neither toils nor spins.” There’s time for everything in this meditative story of self discovery and see-through skirts.
About the artist: Elizabeth Fox was born in Orlando, Florida. She attended the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota before she moved to New Orleans and eventually to Maine. She has exhibited her work in New York City, New Orleans, San Francisco, Miami, Washington DC, Houston, the Netherlands, and at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA). Fox has a current exhibition titled “My Darling Clouds” at Dolby Chadwick Gallery (San Francisco, California) through September 29, 2018. Visit Fox’s website at www.elizabethfox.com (Facebook | Instagram).
BONUS! Preview “Composition Secrets for Figure Painting” with William A. Schneider: