Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Late May, Near Charles City, Virginia
 oil on panel  12" x 18"
Just one of those days that demands attention, the clouds rolling by and the trees finally full and drooping with the weight of the rain and sun. I pulled off a side road and let the place do the work. This area along Route 5, east and south of Richmond has a great richness in open space and water edged or punctuated with great, large hardwoods and thick lines of southern pines. The entire time I was there no one came by. There is a quote by Andrew Wyeth that goes, " Time is holding its breath for an instant and for eternity. That's what I'm after - that is what I'm trying to paint."
I suppose there aren't too many painters more different from each other in approach and style as Wyeth and myself - yet none more attuned to the same feeling about the work. This whole time and space battle made by a painter is really the work of physicists married to the heart of a poet.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wanchese Airstream

Wanchese Airstream
 9" x 12"
"The work is the man." Edward Hopper

In a pretty busy small commercial fishing harbor, across the road from the water and warehouses and piers, sat this old beauty in a field of sand and overgrown weeds.   Edward Hopper said that "the work is the man"-  I was never quite certain about his meaning until I had it pointed out to me by a bad morning.
We had gone to paint at the fishing harbor a week or so ago. All morning it is overcast and threatening rain but we're there to paint, so I start a painting. This morning's painting is of a couple of fishing boats along side a dock, piles of stuff on the dock, buildings going off into the middle distance - all blue and slate and subdued greens with a soft gray sky. It would not come together - just kicked my rear all morning, the magic just never came. Now, almost every painting goes through a period when it seems lost but this one remained lost. After 3 hours of gray I realized why it didn't work - I wasn't in love with it - I never had a trigger to see me through the process.   Well, I was discouraged and tired and about as gray as the morning.   I'm hauling my gear back to the truck and while standing in the bed of the truck I turn and across the road is this old trailer in a field of sand and overgrown weeds. I scrape off my palette and squirt out some paint and dive in. - and I am saved! In an hour and a half I slash  and flail and forget my discouragement and disaster from the morning - I have a reason to make things happen. Once again I have to teach myself why I paint - the intensity of a visual incident. A reflective surface, the juxtaposition of shadow and light, a pattern of shapes and color that describe space and form - these are the elements of physics and time, of visual life itself, that can make the insane process of making paintings come alive. Thats what it takes for me - thats how the work describes and defines me.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Rocks Above, Swallow Falls
  oil on panel  12" x 18"
When human frailty in the form of pain or age rears its ugly head and when the energy level is less than hoped for and the focus wanders and balks - if then, one can simply pause long enough to look up, to see the complexity of the overwhelming, fantastic visual world we are standing in - troubles and time and the anchors of our thin existence dissolve like fog before the sun.  
Why do I make these paintings? This is why.