Sunday, March 31, 2013

Summer Tangle

Summer Tangle
  oil on canvas  30" x 40"

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes 
but in having new eyes”.    Marcel Proust

Rather than conform to cultural notions of beauty, it is far more rewarding to allow oneself to wander freely in the visual chaos and struggle to find form or understanding. In this pursuit beauty will appear as if by magic. This place is in a wooded spot near a creek, not a mile from my home. Ordinary and overgrown, most likely a pathway cut by deer going down to the creek, it just attracted my attention and I can't really say why. That's how it works best, almost an unconscious selecting - 
I guess just my way of going about "having new eyes".

Friday, March 22, 2013

August Farm

August Farm
  oil on canvas 

"The object isn't to make art, it's to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable."                                                                                           Robert Henri

The last thing on earth I want to do is go around making pretty pictures. There are hundreds of skilled technicians out there making paintings suitable for living rooms and dining rooms and some even specialize in office lobbies and bank anterooms (usually larger versions of pretty views). This kind of work sometimes tells a story or is concerned with subjects rural and picturesque.  I've noticed many of its practitioners have been trained as illustrators and this is what they still practice, illustration. 
I am not saying such pretty paintings are bad or wrong-headed - just that they bore me with their calculated attractiveness. I seek out the awkward note in a painting that seems to point the way to a more immediate involvement with what is discovered rather than what is being imitated. Once I find a visual trigger in some set of visual opposites; shadow and light, warmth and coolness, mass and space - once I find a small piece of visual poetry - then I can immerse myself in the viscous quality of the paint and the battle of focusing on truly seeing what is before me and not what I think is before me.
The love of the paint, the color, the abstracted vision are my touchstones and abandoning the resulting image to those ideas is my joy. Now, if a barn happens to appear as a functioning part of my work - two rectangles holding sa space through color and placement - well it just as well could be a cheeseburger or a naked lady - it doesn't mean I have morphed into a 'painter of barns', simply that it was part of a place , a time, a visual exploration.