GALLERIES
DIOSA NICARAGUANSA (Nicaraguan Goddess)
© 1991 Keith Halonen    oil on panel    28×36 in /
71×92 cm    $ 22,000 US

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     The Nicaraguan Goddess stands under a natural arbor, draped in floral brocade, sun and shade flitting across her form. The sun is low in the sky and her eyes narrow in the glare. Diminutive in stature, native in bearing, she takes in a peaceful moment before her evening swim.

     For many years I toyed with the idea of painting a classical nude scene, the woman in her bath or the woodland nymph. It just seemed a much overdone subject, and I never quite got around to it. Finally I determined to join ranks with the many artists throughout the ages who have interpreted this idea. I contemplated the scene for some time and decided to shoot it at a certain hour of the day for ideal lighting conditions.

     The photo found lodging in my candidate image files but ten years passed before I actually began to paint. Completing this painting was the pivotal moment in my transition from commercial illustration to fine art.



Detail from DIOSA NICARAGUANSA (Nicaraguan Goddess)

     Upon finishing this painting there was no going back. I was thoroughly committed to working in oils. My three decades in commercial illustration afforded me some disciplinary experience which I might otherwise have missed but working as someone else's drawing tool always gave me considerable discomfort.

     As time passed it became ever more difficult to work for clients whose demands were often arbitrary and even antithetical to their own business interests. But as the accursed industry saying goes, "The customer is always right."

     Eventually, graphic design began to smack of the penitent's cell. I could no longer do it without "steeling myself" to the task. When something has ceased to be a pleasant experience, it is time to move on. Fine art makes me once again a child at recess on the playground. I live to linger and frolic in the brilliant sunlight.

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