Michael Divine

Writings :


The Small Figures in My Work

Using my smallest brush I painted a small figure standing atop a flame, holding onto some sort of physical structure like an axis with 45 degree angles. The figure is checking out the view from up there, so to speak. It's a pretty far out view but not a very big canvas. The very tiny person up there  - really just a silhouette with perfect little curves - was painted with my tiniest brush: a #0 Kolinsky long handled brush, a lovely brush, really. I'm afraid I've almost worn it out.

As I placed the faintest of dashes to suggest a left hand, I thought about my habit of painting very tiny people into my paintings. I always paint them not in relation necessarily to the canvas itself but, instead, in relation to the smallest brush I have and in relation to the largest thing going on in the peice. I want them to be small. The painting, no matter the size, usually has similar sized small figures. They are always making the canvas seem huge because our eyes pick out the shape of the figure in it and relate then to that shape. It is sort of in the same way the we anthropomorphize all kinds of objects, placing emotions, etc, upon them. We see the shape of a person and we relate to that shape and then relate to the rest of the image in terms of that figure. With the paintings that have these tiny painted figures I want to create the greatest sense of space with them: a sense of grandeur and depth maybe; a sense of approaching the infinite and, really, being very small in that view.

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