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McCauley's Art Figures Paintings

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Contemporary Acrylic Figure Paintings of Women by Barbara McCauley

Paintings of women go back centuries in art. The subject is one nearly every artist paints. McCauley drew and painted the figure for years, beginning in her teens. So when she returned to painting in the early 90's, she began by drawing and painting the figure from live models in a group of other artists. In 2000, she began a series called "Woman Alone" in which a single figure emerged out of a black gessoed canvas, all of them measuring 18" x 14". Backgrounds were kept simple and the gesture of the woman's body gave the paintings their emotive power and mystery. McCauley began this series with five works in which the woman was nude, but the results were totally unsatisfying to her becauses the women were so totally absorbed or involved in something off the canvas that it didn't make sense that they should be undressed. She painted over these early pieces. "The nude," she says, "is most often an object. The women in these artworks were definitely not objects, but subjects. I realized I had to paint them in their clothes, allow them to be themselves, and their dress became an important element in expressing each of the figures."

A total of 24 paintings made up this series which is now sold out. But the artist began painting women again, in Mexico, in 2007 when one just showed up in the middle of a landscape. Exotic and mysterious, "Woman in Smoke" piqued the artist's curiosity so much that she decided to begin another series, this one in larger sized canvasses and without a central unifying theme among them. All are painted in acrylic on canvas.