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Mary Weymark Goss


Anomaly Series | Paleozoic Series |

Mary Weymark Goss

P282 Fossil Incline

20x24" oil on canvas

October 30, 2001: While my daughter Abby was here last week, she was disturbed by the recent Paleozoic paintings, with their holes drilled through them and their hieroglyphic viscera. "You've made fossils of everyone else... why not of me," she demanded. When we got home, I took out a couple of stretched canvases and had her pose, the first a small close-up, curled up with her face half-buried in a pillow, looking tired and far-away. "It's not a nice face," she said, pouting a bit over the lines under the eyes. The second, larger sketch began as a rather ridiculous pose, Abby with her legs up, looking more like a fashion model than a fossil. But I played with it a bit, moving the pencil lines with thinner and a brush, and filling the figure with fossil shapes. Come to think of it, the face does look like a mask. I had an idea for a third picture, and had Abby sit with her knees pulled up and her arms crossed in front, a twin of the figure with the fossilized knee (P270).

I was anxious to start these paintings, as some sort of transition, or at least a break from the others, which are now referred to, not altogether facetiously by our art group, as the 'pain pictures', instead of "Paleozoic".

I set up the small picture, now P282, though I haven't a name for it yet. It's just a figure, exhausted and turning to stone.

November 21, 2001: After a quick lunch, I set to work on the painting, P282, Fossil Incline, and by 4:30 had finished it. The new colour combination, Cadmium yellow and red, gives rich oranges and earthy purples, which seem to suit the fossil shapes, and lends the paintings a warmer hue than the earlier pieces, in which I used Naples yellow and Prussian blue, the resulting turquoise giving off a cool aura.

The face of the figure in P282 is especially interesting to me. The day Abby posed, she was tired and feeling dejected over her health and her job. This face, while not particularly looking like her, captures her mood, the orange glow around her the comfort of home and family.