A Tall Shearer
13 x 23 cms 2007
I was asked to do some entries for a competition at the Savage Club, the specification being that the paintings should be 9 inches by 5. This is a tiny painting.
I find that the composition for a tiny painting has to be quite different to a large one. Without the space necessary to create a dynamic between the elements, the dynamic is created by the margins squeezing the image into its frame. Added to all of the above was the long skinny proportion of the thing. Very difficult.
With the same compositional problems as Muybridge Nude, Ascending, I went to a batch of photos I had taken a couple of years ago in a neighbour's shearing shed which had never quite made it to canvas. The shearer has a beautiful body, hanging from his hook. The grace of his arms, the shape of his back.
The tattoo, which wasn't on his arm, is the Chinese symbol for a sheep, which is purely coincidental to the fact the shape of it works in the composition. I found it by Googling tattoos, sheep and it was much more 'artistic' than the rest of the images that came up.