Friday, September 9, 2011

A New Series in Progress – India Rising

I didn’t imagine when I finished my painting “The Lost” that it would end up being the first in a series. What happened between that last stroke of paint on canvas and my decision to do another?

I was haunted, not only by the abandoned street urchin, but by images of thousands of children roaming the streets of India, homeless, hungry, abused and diseased.

India is a colorful, fascinating country. It is a contrast of beliefs and values between the “chosen” and the cast off. The people are beautiful, intelligent, and forward thinking, yet their customs and traditions bind them to old belief systems that threaten individual growth and enlightenment. The few that find it, I call “The Found,” the name of my second painting in the series.

"The Found" -- 3/4 finished

The third painting, “Prince of Thieves” came from an article I read about how the abandoned children form families; the older taking care of the younger. To survive, they scrounge in garbage cans for food or steal. As they grow older, this thieving becomes organized and the innocence of childhood is lost forever.

"Prince of Thieves" -- Drawing

Many of the children are sold into the sex trade or use sex as a way to earn money for food. With no one to care for them, disease is rampant, and the street waifs quickly go downhill.

"Prince of Thieves" -- Acryllic underpainting

With extra money, most turn to drugs for brief moments of release from pain and loneliness. To my horror, one cheap drug they turn to is “white out” that little bottle of white correction fluid we use to cover errors on paper text. White out is poured into a cloth and little by little is sucked into the mouth of the user.

"Prince of Thieves" -- Starting oil paint overlay

With their small mouths covered in white, they eventually join others who laugh and walk like drunken sailors until they crash on the pavement and sleep. In some locations, the streets are covered with sleeping urchins. To make their plight worse, others steal what little they have while they’re asleep.

I hope my paintings not only capture the beauty of India, but the sadness of a people trapped in the past while trying to reach the brass ring of the future. Those who make it are to be admired and respected.

To see other paintings and series go to my web site @