The title of this painting Intrusion (Portrait of Sarah Z.) hints at an interruption in the contemplative mood of this young woman sitting and casually eating fruit. What is the intrusion? Her gaze directs us toward the answer to that question– in the shiny surface of the pot holding flowers we see a reflection of a man opening a door.
Weeks ago, I was privileged enough to view an early stage of this painting (below). You can see how the artist, Richard Shook aka Dick Shook continued to develop the painting, completing it very recently.
To take it further, we are wondering if perhaps the intrusion or intruder in the painting is the artist himself entering Sarah Z.’s private world? Or the intruding man in the door may be a metaphorical reference to represent interruptions in the artist’s contemplative painting practice– such as those he experiences on a daily basis that take him away from his work.
“I’ve been very focused on finding “myself” and refining my craft in terms of color palette and process, ” says the artist Richard (Dick) Shook. “The new piece is the best one, at least for me, so far. I suppose that’s always the case in my world. I keep after the idea that there is always something “more” in the way of something like a religious mystery. I do five or ten things that I like, but don’t blow me away. It’s that next one that I’m looking for.”
Richard (Dick) Shook has also been at work on a series of paintings of dancers, saying–“Dance provides some of the most interesting figurative possibilities.” The artist also has plans to paint a large-scale multi-figure painting of dancers.
He let us know about his plans, and informed us of his process by saying–“As far as the dancers go, I’ve been working on a group painting of twelve dancing princesses. Only recently did I get sufficient reference photos from my sessions with the dancers to take that a little further. My first idea with this was to make it huge, I was going to try to raise the funds to do it (the twelve dancing princesses) for our public library, but as so often happens they’ve been stuck in non-deliberation. In any case, I like to do large paintings. It’s been hard to get me into the small range. So I’m always on the lookout for venues that can accommodate the bigger things. I do pretty well, though, in the 30 x 40 ish range, in part because they are the easiest to haul around.”
S.Richard (Dick) Shook has completed several multi-figure public art paintings, including the painting of swimmers in a pool, above, titled Weightless– the second in a series of three paintings that he created for the Healthy Living/Healthy Life Art Initiative for the Polk County Health Department of Des Moines, Iowa, USA.
Bike Club was painted for the Polk County Health Department–completed in 2012–this, the first of the artist’s three large paintings to promote healthy lifestyles.
“I, too, enjoy the paintings with more figures. I like them all tangled up and in interaction because, that’s life and it’s more fun that way. I’m anxious that my future work have a good home, or that I can afford to have a place to store it. No more room in my studio and house. But the biggest thing for me is to keep after my muses, to get these things out of my head and into the real world. where people can enjoy them.”
You can find out more about these paintings on the artist’s website www.dickshook.com and view many more artworks by this wonderful artist.