I created this video slide show from the 14 paintings and 1 drawing I did of Little Man in 2008.
There are actually only 14 completed canvases in the series so far, and what you see in the video are many close-ups and details of them. I also thought to photograph several canvases in the process of their creation, which is why you will see a few of them in different stages of development. If I had known at the time that I would be making such a slide show, I would have photographed them all in their different stages....
Two of the canvases, the one of him looking in the mirror and the one of him in the rose garden, went through many changes. Unfortunately, the one of him in the rose garden -- before it became whitened and more ethereal, was photographed with my cell phone so is not a very clear picture. The one of him looking in the mirror went through three stages. First he saw unadulterated pure love and beauty. Then he saw fear. And then in the last, he saw beauty and hope. It is the same canvas, just photographed at different stages of development.
And how handy these photos have come in now!
Perhaps what is most poignant to me about this process of creating the video, was how I have come to better understand my own work, the message I was seeking to convey. Because in the last two canvases there suddenly appear these geometric shapes which intuitively I knew were important, just as I knew the clocks were important. And I knew why I was putting the geometric shapes in, but I didn't know how they related to the earlier canvas when he is on the stage waving that checkered piece of fabric around.
And now it is more clear to me than ever that when I paint, I am giving myself messages, telling myself things... that I may not even know at the time. But painting, along with everything else that it is, is also a way of revealing what is going on in one's subconscious. So, while I knew that the geometric shapes were a way to show how he was traveling to another dimension, I wasn't sure I had conveyed it very well. But in the movement of the slide show, with the ability to cut back and go forward again, and show close-ups, I feel like I was able to make sense of it better. To pull together the idea of Time, and the "crossings" and the idea of a different dimension as portrayed by geometric shapes.
This series has been so gratifying to me on many levels. For starters, I hadn't painted in oil for many years, and the Little Man inspired me to take it up again. And secondly, when I sort of stopped painting, or I should say, slowed down in my output, one reason was because I had begun going into geometric shapes with the figures... and while it made sense to me, I didn't think the paintings were very good. Or, let's say I didn't know where I was going with them. So I left off for 20 years!
But now it makes sense to me again.
In the 1980s I began painting what I called, Journey to the Deep. The culmination of that was Girl Under Water, which became the title of my memoir. Writing a memoir is another sort of journey, of course. And now that is done, I am able to paint again, to continue where I left off, and to see where I am more clearly. The Little Man series has evolved to become a way of seeing myself better -- through him. I never saw him as an inanimate object. He was always full of life for me. His story continues.