Tuesday, August 28, 2018

New Work: Pants on Fire

Pants on Fire
20" x 20" mixed media-acrylic and paper

I am not even sure where to start! I couldn't say which thing got me so pissed off to begin with but whatever it was it has manifested itself in the above piece. 

It's no small thing to think someone is a liar let alone to say that to someone's face or to use that term when talking about that person's actions.  Growing up, I don't remember my parents specifically telling me not to use this word but honestly, I never called anyone by this term. I may think someone is lying but I would never call that person a liar. It's a very bad word (and this from someone who loves to use the "F" word liberally). It's right up there with saying that you hate somebody. (My mom expressly forbade me from using that word-it means you wish someone was dead.) In any case, the word "liar" is a very strong term and not one to be thrown around casually.

But wait! Am I a hypocrite? I voted for Bill Clinton twice. And Hillary? Several times, it seems. I have told many a fib myself from time to time. Sometimes the truth just won't do. I guess what I want to say is that everyone bends the truth. It's human nature to do so for any number of reasons. And while overlooking a lie here or there is OK, in a politcian or other person in power, I think we have the right to expect the truth. Voting involves a lot of trust and to abuse that trust really undermines someone's integrity.

Anyway. Enough of that. The above peice was very fun to make. It started out just as a regular sketch and then morphed into this poilitical idea. I wasn't totally sure I could just paint the piece. Painting curves is tough for me and much of what I do involves taping to get clean, straight lines. So, it seemed like a good time to test out the paper/paint combo idea. I really like it a lot. I had to think in terms of layers, painted areas first and then painted paper to finish. It was a challenge plus I had forgotten how much I love the methodical process of cutting and pasting.

I used lots of personal symbols in the piece. Some of them, such as the Twitter birds and Trump himself, were very much an ad hoc thing. The colored blocks on the right side remind me of a child's xylaphone. The square in the lower right corner is based on the Monopoly game board as is the idea of that red arrow and the black and white "jail" lines. The gray and pink traingular shape in the middle is based on an hourglass that my parents used to own. I feel (and hope) that time is running out on Trump's presidency. And one of the most spontaneous decisions I made was to add the white lettering. The children's rhyme of "Liar, liar, pants on fire" seemed to fit well. (I tend to think of Trump as an overgrown baby.)

All in all, I am pleased with this piece. It's more "theme" driven I guess than some of my other paper pieces which are a little more "design" driven. I like too that I have circled back to the paper. I hope to try some other things soon using that medium combined with straight painting. 

Thanks for reading,
PS- I hope this goes without saying but the above reflections are my opinion. As such, they aren't up for debate. It's what I feel. If you would like to comment on the piece itself, colors, design, etc. that is fine but don't leave a political comment please.


  1. Libby I remember when I first encountered your work and at that time you had some figures in your composition for the purpose of communicating a message. So for me, this is like the circle back to when we "met" online and my appreciation for not only your artistic talent but for your ability to capture a thought via color and composition. Brava! I have always been intrigued with your process and laud your explorations of technique and content.

    1. Carol,

      Thank you so much for your kind praise. This is definitely a circling back to what I was doing before only this time I hope I can go a bit further. I think that once you try something you have a kind of idea on how to do things. Maybe you can't go any further with it though because you are still missing some pieces? Skills maybe? Confidence? something. I put the paper pieces down because I thought they were kind of frivolous and silly in the end, that they only had meaning for me. It took me awhile though to accept that this is a sufficient basis for making art. Anyway, that is sort of what I think.

      Sorry (very) about the late response. I haven't a clue as to why Blogger didn't tell me about your comment. I am trying to catch up!

  2. Libby, this is a triumph! And a leap! So many elements in service to your feelings about our president. It works very well just as design but it is enriched by the narrative. Stay angry!

    1. Randall,

      I have had some issues with Blogger (apparently) and I am just now seeing this comment. Better Late than never though, I hope.

      Thank you so much for your positive comments about this piece. It is one of my favorites so far. I wasn't sure about making something "political" but I felt that if the design itself was strong enough things might be OK.

      There is so much material with this guy. Glad I am not his psychiatrist. I wouldn't know where to start!.

      Anyway, very sorry for the slow response. I appreciate that you visited and commented.


Thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it! I reply back in an email if you are signed in and I can see your address. Otherwise I will post the reply here under your comment. I tend to cut and paste my emails too so that others can experience the back and forth which I think is integral to blogging.