George’s Dream

George’s Dream, oil on linen, 60″ x 80″, 2024

There are a few small things to do still, but this is essentially complete, for The Stuff of Dreams at Oxford Gallery, opening in about three weeks. I started George’s Dream in late November though I had been sketching and researching elements of it for more than a year. I was exploring the theme of St. George and the dragon from different angles, though I ended up creating the image of a dream that starts out near the bottom as one of the tabletops I’ve painted for many years and then dematerializes a bit into the dream as your eye moves to the top of the canvas. It was ironic to be working on this during my No Ideas But in Things solo show at SUNY-Finger Lakes Community College, which was a survey of work from the past fifteen years rooted in the idea that painting communicates and embodies an awareness that has little or nothing to do with the kind of thinking that recognizes narratives. This is certainly an image that suggests multiple interpretations, so it’s completely outside the scope of how I work as a painter: to try and bypass illustrated ideas. But having the occasion of the theme Jim Hall offered gave me a chance to work in this mode. I found it challenging and rewarding from start to this provisional finish, though there were two or three tedious periods along the way. It’s nearly seven feet high, so I had to buy a small scaffold at Home Depot in order to work on the upper third of the image. I found myself doing half a dozen unfamiliar things and discovering that I could, in fact, get satisfying results with some objects when I had serious doubts about my ability to depict them accurately. Many thanks to a painting by Chagall for that Cubist cherub in the upper left corner. It’s my favorite painting of his.


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