Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lake Morning

Lake Morning
  oil on panel 9" x 12"
A brisk morning out on the dock, looking down the lake shore. Times like this make me realize that every painting I make is in some way, a celebration of the marvelous experience of being alive at that moment. I am seldom happier than when up on a lake in the far eaches of Maine. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Small Town Summer
  oil on canvas  28" x 50"
This one has just seems to capture the absolute quiet of a lazy summer afternoon in a small rural town. Maybe a lawnmower in the distance, maybe some kids playing in an empty lot - otherwise quiet and close and hot. This one is a little more controlled than some others I've done but I like to just let the way a place affects me have the last say on what happens in the work - that and some sort of intuitive feel for what looks right and visually effective - its like the Richard Diebenkorn quote to the effect -'painting is an art where one recognizes what one has never seen".

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

August Evening
  oil on canvas  50" x 58"
The connection between poetry and painting are as close as any two different art forms can be.  The search for exactly the right word or set of words echos the search for the right color, the right value. Both forms struggle against the limitations inherent to their scope and tools and process. It is those same limitations that shape the end and give life to what artifact is left at the finish. The goal of each is to allow the ones who discover that work after the fact, to engage - to enter in and experience the place and the mood found within, on their own, with only their eyes and heart to guide.  I feel I’m standing on the edge of those fields Sherwood Anderson writes of every time I read this little poem.

Evening Song
Sherwood Anderson

My song will rest while I rest. I struggle along. I'll get back to the corn and
   the open fields. Don't fret, love, I'll come out all right.

Back of Chicago the open fields. Were you ever there—trains coming toward
   you out of the West—streaks of light on the long gray plains? Many a
   song—aching to sing.

I've got a gray and ragged brother in my breast—that's a fact. Back of
   Chicago the open fields—long trains go west too—in the silence. Don't
   fret, love. I'll come out all right.

Monday, September 5, 2011

"River Day"

River Day
  oil on canvas  48" x 60"

“A painter shows you what he painted, but an artist shows you why he painted."

It might be dangerous to post a painting with this quote attached to it because one can never be absolutely sure sure of having shown the 'why'.   I don’t have a strategy about demonstrating emotion or spiritual power when I paint - that would be a disaster drowned in sentimental nonsense.  I don’t want an illustration or a narrative to make it easier for me or the viewer. At the same time, I can’t think about avoiding these things as I work. 
All I can do is become absorbed completely in attempting to come to grips with what is before me while allowing the poetry evident in the natural world to appear, as if by magic. 
If I give myself totally to an engagement with the process of reacting to shape, space, color, form, shadow and light, I will have done all that can be done. 
I’ll have to leave the judgment of whether it mostly ‘what’ or mostly ‘why’ in the result, to some one new to the work, who looks at the work.
The French poet, Paul Valery, gives me an out for even trying to explain the impossible.
“We must always apologize for talking about painting.”