Having finished an extensive series of botanical subjects I found myself longing for my student days of figure drawing and painting. I love the challenge of capturing the human anatomy but found it has a limited appeal for the fine art world that caters primarily to art as an element of decor.
So, when my new friend in Hawaii, Dr. John Fleckles, an inveterate traveler to Melanesia began showing me his wonderful photos of remote island life, I was immediately inspired to place myself into that far off world by way of brush and canvas. Having no way to go there myself at the time and searching for an island subject in which to immerse myself, I suggested that his photos would make a wonderful source for a series, and to my delight, he agreed to give me access to his library.
I loved the intriguing faces, bodies, natural costumes, art and rituals of these people living in such far away picturesque settings. I was especially intrigued by the warrior class. The mudmen are my favorites, so fierce and regal. As I worked, I was transported into a stone age fantasy so anachronistic that I realized their traditions may soon be gone from this earth.
Every picture I painted earned me a private travelogue from the perspective of John’s unique experiences over many visits and returns to these exotic lands. The faces I painted were known to him as friends and each had a story which he recounted with special meaning.
The series took me a full year to paint and, although I would love to continue this journey, I must now travel another road for a time, but perhaps as John does in real time, I will return.