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Drawing is a form of meditation for me. It helps me concentrate on the details and thus see the whole in a totally different perspective than just through the mind’s memory which lacks the same attentiveness to detail. My life’s works are a sequence of narratives. They quite often relate to my personal experiences… I have drawn and painted pictures concerning feminism, divorce, motherhood, childhood, adolescence, love of domestic and wild animals, and now my cherished copper headed grandson as a harlequin. All of my works are done for myself no matter what the theme/story. They further my understanding of who I am.

How does one present a cherished child in a way which makes others love the idea? The Harlequin series is the theme, begun in March 2010, which purvays this. It is also an offshoot of my current major interest – the circus. This one encompassing entity  combines many of my interests: the mutual dependency and interaction between man and animal, or between animals themselves. The circus also has elements which I love: the humor, the sadness, the grotesque, the spectacular, the color, the glitz, the flamboyance and the macabre. This tantalizing theme unites my extensive experience as a portrait painter of both animals and people. It permits me to investigate the psyche behind the big top’s and carnival’s magical lure. It allows me to be surreal and dream as a child would.

My Petite Harlequin Series is based on photos of my Grandchild. I’ve taken him out of his natural setting and put him on a  Zebra, in a chair with a rescued Macaw, taming rabbits, and just mischievous. Already the Harlequin is developing into adult figures in mysterious settings and situations.

Why pastel? I find that this media allows me the freedom I need to develop this new repertoire. I’m not worried about my expensive oil paints drying out in between painting sessions. These pastels are an extension of my drawings in color. They are studies for possible oil paintings or monoprints.

This “circus theme” continues my life long search for those pregnant moments which awaken us. It allows me to be a child again. I believe as Horace did: art’s purpose is to inform and delight. Drawing & painting complete me; and, it delights me to create art which hopefully delights and mystifies you. Louise Francke is a member of the Orange County Artists Guild. See her work and the work of other members.

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