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oil on linen, unstretched
8″ x 10
This piece is one of the few that wasn’t painted during the pandemic – this piece is special for a different reason.

This was actually the very first painting I made after returning to Canada after studying art in France. I’ve had this in my personal collection for a while and I’m now ready to part with it.

Many of the conceptual foundations of the way I think about painting and drawing the human body actually come from the Rococo, a movement in painting that started in France in the 18th century. While it has a lot of negative associations with gluttony and the excess of the upper classes (it preceded the French Revolution), it was also deeply concerned with the shape of humanity and beautiful draftsmanship. In my opinion, some of the most refined and beautiful drawings came from this period of art.

Rococo was initially an insult: it’s a play on words of “rocaille” and “coquille” or “rocks and seashells”, referring to the interior decor side of Rococo and it’s love of swirling seashells and rocky grottos.

But there are echoes of seashells in the human form, and it’s something I think about a lot. (Ears and conch shells have a lot more in common than you might think.)

So this first painting was a tribute to my lineage, a nod to the seashells of the past and the seashells of our bodies.

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May I suggest a companion to the Seashells?

I love the smoothness of the skull next to the knobbly texture of the seashells.