Sometimes, when I can’t think of anything to paint, I thumb through pictures in the books I have. Today my book was of the art of Willem de Kooning. His paintings have a lot of energy. One in particular, Woman I, is famous for its fierce and frightening look. According to the Museum of Modern Art website, “Combining voluptuousness and menace, Woman, I reflects the age–old cultural ambivalence between reverence for and fear of the power of the feminine.”
I painted the study below under the influence of de Kooning’s paintings.
The subject of this watercolor sketch is my brother Mike. Mike is autistic, low functioning and nonverbal. His life has influenced mine for the past 6 decades. My experience includes menace and reverence for my brother; fear was not part of my conscious experience, though, nor voluptuousness, for that matter.
The photo below indicates the self-directed violence that Mike often exhibited. Some docs described this action as a Tourettic motor tic instead of a behavior.