Beach People is a playful collage of people that is about exploration, imagining where you fit in and trying to connect with the stories of others.
This idea has a backstory rooted in one of my previous paintings. Perhaps you will see the connection. After a trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, I painted the pier on Playa Los Muertos which has a dramatic architectural sculpture and the people in the water in the foreground. After I was done, I did the thing where you form a rectangle with your thumb and pointer fingers and pointed it just at the water. I loved what I saw! The simple and bold shapes of people in the water each seemed to have their own story, and because of their somewhat abstract composition and form, it encouraged exploration . Immediately I had this piece in my head: crisp, semi-recognizable forms of bodies, swimsuits and sunglasses, partially submerged in a sea of turquoise.
When I started this,one it was a complete playground. I randomly sketched out groups of people and then did a vibrant wash of turquoise guiding the colored water around the sketched figures. As I returned to the negative spaces to give form to the figures, I imagined each of them. Did they remind me of someone? Were they happy, lost-in-thought, floating, lonely, playing, trying to impress or content with who they were, would this day be memorable for them? Would my next stroke completely change the story I was imagining about them.
At one level this painting is just fun to explore, to come back to, to form stories about. At another more meaningful level, the act of imbuing stories onto 3 brush strokes hints at the richness of existence in each person's life, even those who may be out of focus.