Thursday, March 7, 2013


A couple of years ago I took a brief dabbling in my painting and began painting characters that look like balloons.  
It all started when I painted a diptychs for my brother as a Christmas gift.  He was my secret Santa and I wanted to do something cool for his house.  He had virtually no art in his beautiful home so I thought a painting would be an awesome idea.  I had no idea as to what I was going to take on right before Christmas.

It is titled 'Air on the side of caution' and each canvas is 24x30.  It took some time to paint, but I really got in the groove and finished them on time.  It began my interest in the balloon as a metaphor for the human brain and personality.

'AIR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION'      2009   24x30 panels     oil on canvas

I don't know precisely what caught my attention to create these balloon character faces except that I am generally interested in the face as a theme and use it in a lot of my paintings.  I am also interested in our human psychology as a theme.  The idea that these balloon characters can be extinguished with just a nick by the birds beak, speaks to me because I feel that that is how one can feel when they move in the world.  Vulnerability is the key word I think of to describe these balloon character paintings.  I think of how fragile our psychological life can be and how we can feel so unimportant at times.  I also think of strength and courage when I look at these paintings.  Courage to put yourself out there not knowing what will come back to you.  Strength to pick yourself up after an emotional event and move forward.  The faces are just floating in the air and moving through their life even though there is tragedy.  One balloon has been loosing it's air it's life and a lot of balloons look at it in concern and fear, while others are not nearly so affected.  Some characters like the one in the left panel in the bottom left corner is closing his eyes and doesn't even want to know what is going on.

                'BLISS'                11x14               2010      oil on canvas                                         

This painting above titled 'BLISS" 11x14 oil on canvas is one of my very favorites.  I think it is because I love the way the face looks so relaxed and truly experiencing 'bliss'.  I love the way the colors blend together and support the red face.  It is not actually a balloon face however it is the beginning of my balloon series.

               'HOPES DEFLATED'         16x20                 2010       oil on canvas                                   
Above in this second painting, 'Hopes Deflated' 16x20.  Two birds swoop in to bite onto the yellow balloon character and deflates it while standing on the face of the green character.  This reflects the fragile nature of our psychological persona.

             'WHAT'S SO FUNNY?'                   16x20                      2010      oil on canvas             
 In this third painting above, 'What's so funny?' 16x20, each character in the painting is laughing and filled with fun.  The blue character is clearly the 'jokester' while the yellow woman character is very amused and smitten with the joke as the orange woman looks on.  This painting reflects the different sides of ourselves and how we can change our persona from one moment to the next.
      'RISING ABOVE'          16x20        2010       oil on canvas                             
In this fourth painting, 'Rising above' 16x20 , you can see different emotions as the orange balloon is relaxing and looks like he is meditating and not effected by the others.  The blue character looks on wondering and the green guy in the background looks like he wants to make his own appearance as a unique and different personality from the others.  The three birds fly around these characters clearly familiar with these three guys. The guys do not feel any fear even though at any minute the birds can nick them and they will deflate and their lives will be lost
              'GRIEF'                    11x14              2010   oil on canvas
In this painting above titled 'GRIEF' 11x14,  I really experience the feeling of grief when I look at the face of this balloon that is floating in the air.  Since I have been going through a lot of grief lately with the loss of my Mom and my Gram 16 months apart, I really relate to the way the balloon is holding his head and closing his eyes and staring down. This balloon character is surely feeling down and filled with sorrow.

I hope you enjoyed viewing this group of paintings.  Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know what's on your mind.

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