Sometimes I'm asked why artists paint what they paint. The answer can be quite varied and complex. I believe the truth is much simpler. We paint what moves us. An experience, observation or epiphany that is compelling and powerful can easily find its way into a piece of choreography, a poem or painting. What moves us might be as mundane as a dancing tree casting shadows against a wall on a windy sunny day, or as riveting as war. Theodore Gericault was moved by the story of a shipwreck and then committed to painting his 1819 masterpiece The Raft of the Medusa. It's a tremendous mural-sized monument to his vision of the event, which has outlived the original story, and is now an event in itself. It hangs in the Louvre in Paris and when I first saw it I was blown away. When I think masterpiece I think of this painting.
It moved me enough to make sketches, drawings and ultimately a series of small paintings based on details I found interesting within his composition. My painting thinks about the figures who are waving cloth and seeking help from a distant ship on the horizon. My 2006 painting above is titled I Need Your Help, and may have started with my Louvre experience, but now it lives on its own. It may possibly give life to any number of new stories depending on the mindset of each viewer and art patron. This is my reason for making this painting.