I was sitting at some dark corner table in Starbucks early one morning when I sketched out the idea for this painting. It started off as a few scratchy lines from my ballpoint pen and then the form started to take shape. I gave my little thumbnail sketch the title “The Rise of Man.”
As I kept working on the sketch I remembered that I had a similar idea 15 years ago based on an excerpt from the classic Ovid's Metamorphoses. Here's the part that I was going to use to make a painting.
Thus, while the mute creation downward bend
Their sight, and to their earthly mother tend,
Man looks aloft; and with erected eyes
Beholds his own hereditary skies.
From such rude principles our form began;
And earth was metamorphos'd into Man.
But I never got around to doing it for various reasons and I shelved the idea for future use. Now sitting in Starbucks the idea came up again and I thought now was a good time to create something out of it.
I changed my original theme of “the rise of man” to “the metamorphoses of man.” I had visualized in my mind how I wanted the final image to appear but that's not the way it turned out in my finished painting. I think my concern in rendering the man and making the body look realistic took away some of the expressiveness in the painting.
I believe it should be more raw and powerful. Maybe I just didn't have enough paining experience to be able to pull it off. But I’m still ok with how it eventually turned out. It's still something I could rework into a second version.