oil on canvas, 24″ x 36″ || order limited-edition prints at paulrichmondstore.com
This painting was inspired by my Dad, who recently passed away. Even though I didn’t see him or even talk to him every day, his absence leaves an overwhelming emptiness that I am still struggling to accept. As I worked on this piece, I kept thinking about the concept of positive and negative space. It’s one of the first things you learn in art school. Positive space is the stuff — the subject matter. Negative space is what’s around it — the background, the empty part. Most art students start out only wanting to focus on the positive space, but the shapes you create with the negative are just as important compositionally. Losing someone who is such a fundamental part of who I am has left an unfillable void. My dad is no longer the positive space, the tangible presence in the foreground of my life. But I believe that I can still find him in the gaps and crevices he carved out along the way — the backgrounds, the negative spaces — everything from the small openings to the vastness of the entire world that he laid out and molded into tangible bits for me as I grew up. Those spaces hold his shape and always will. The negative space has become the positive. I guess that’s what this painting came to be about.