Painting Madeline

Painting Madeline

In this blog post, I am continuing the story of how I am creating my large Not #MeToo: No More Casting Couch painting that I will be showing during Art Prize 10 in Grand Rapids, MI, this fall.

My studio is tiny, so I could not extend the entire 14-foot wide painting across the wall. That’s why part of the painting is rolled up (see left portion of the above photo) to fit into the room. The rest of the painting is tacked directly to the wall. That way I can not only fit it into the room, I don’t have to deal with the “bounce” that a stretched canvas has for the under painting. I look a little daunted in this photo because I am about to start on the second half of the canvas and soon I will have to roll up the portion I have done so far in order to reveal this half of the piece.

Just like with the other two figures, I start with the head. This is Madeline, a former prima ballerina with the Tampa Ballet. She was completing her associate’s degree at St. Petersburg College, where my wife and I teach. My wife knew her from two of her art history classes, where she was one of her best students. Madeline now attends the University of South Florida (USF) to continue with her bachelor’s degree in art history. But after-class conversations about the #MeToo movement with Madeline and Alexandra, her best friend and the other ballerina in the painting,  sparked the idea for this piece.

Here you can see how the rough-in for the first layer of paint is progressing on the figure of Madeline. The lacy top of her leotard is challenging and making sure that her arms exude her strength and yet her femininity is another important consideration.

You can see the pepper spray that Madeline is holding in her outstretched hand. It is the personal pepper spray she carries with her in her purse pretty much everywhere she goes. In our society right now, it is sad that a beautiful young woman would feel compelled to carry such a personal security device with her so she can feel safe. But this culture of making women wary because they have been subjected to so much sexual harassment needs to be addressed. We need to change the way women are perceived as sex objects by a large portion of the populace. It is one of the reasons why I am painting this large piece and why I created the work Clown previously.

Realism artist Kevin Grass explores sexism and its effects upon the feminine self-image in this acrylic on panel painting entitled Clown. You can purchase this piece or fine art print reproductions of it here: “Clown” painting and prints, available on

I have gotten most of Madeline’s body roughed in by now. It has been a productive few days’ work. I don’t get as much painting time as I would like, since I have to fulfill my duties as a full-time art instructor at St. Peterburg College. But that’s the job that pays our mortgage, so it has to come first!

Thanks for checking out my progress on this work! I hope you enjoy seeing the updated snapshots of the piece. When it is done, you will be able to appreciate the immense amount of work that is going into painting it.

Kevin Grass signature

To see my entire portfolio of paintings, please check out! You can purchase original paintings and fine art print reproductions directly from my website.

Blog post 9 of 22



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