When my brother was just four years old, it was clear he had a gift for artistic expression. He'd draw these hilarious faces with lopsided eyes and spindly strands of hair, as do many children, but his showed that he was observing more than appearance and overt emotion. His doodles had their own personalities.
By the time he was in the fourth grade, teachers were noticing his quirky style. He was entered into a local fair that gave prizes for arts, crafts and other accomplishments. His entry was a tall, detailed clay vase. He'd cut out a couple dozen fish, glazed them in watery hues, pieced them together with deliberate holes here and there and fired the thing up in a kiln. A fish vase that, ironically, could hold no water. It won first place... and was promptly stolen. Stolen! Talk about a letdown. Then again, if it was worth stealing it must have been pretty darned special.
There is still that carefree confidence and careful observance in each of his works. His medium is acrylic paint. Years ago he taught himself to work with acrylics almost as if they were oils, but he likes the challenge of the faster drying time and the stability and glow of the finished pieces. Humor and depth, light and shadow, color and line, stories within stories.
He calls this one "Hard Candy Fish"; as dichotomous as the vase.
by Bryan Ubaghs
acrylics on deep-edge panel--no need for framing
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