Examining old work, I realize I’ve been subconsciously trying to fuse the figure with ambiguous backgrounds for much longer than I thought. Years ago I believed my backgrounds were boring. So I spent time focusing on the atmosphere. But I hit a wall: my work seemed to be a beautiful background with a subject pasted in front of it. The outcome, while successful, left me obsessed with the disconnection and trying to solve it.
Here you can see an old figure study that was left unfinished. Behind the model is the beginning of a cloud formation that subtly covers the object supporting her body. As your eye moves above her head, the cluster separates to reveal a faint sky.
I can tell my intention was to convert the supporting object into vague mountains in the distance with her body becoming hidden in the environment. But I wasn't as imaginative back then and knew very little about painting nature, so I stepped back. My fear of failing kept me from continuing.
Perhaps I assumed I would revisit it one day, as I am now.
During my first trip to Florence, Italy I walked by Benvenuto Cellini's booze sculpture of Persius with the Head of Medusa. The scene sparked far too much curiosity to ignore. So i drew it while waiting to enter the Galleria Academia (Where Michelangelo's David is held). I left with a new four curiosity for Medusa, and started researching the origins of her story. I decided to offer a different perspective.