Friday, August 15, 2014

Reason To Paint, Hopper and Rilke

Brittany Coast 5
  oil on panel  11" x 14"

"If we could say it in words there would be no reason to paint."
Edward Hopper

Brittany Coast 8
 oil on panel   9.75" x 16"

"... the work of art brings to the life of one who must make it - that it is his epitome;  the knot in the rosary at which his life recites a prayer."
R. M. Rilke

A pair based on the idea of the heaving, roiling sea - completely absorbed in the task as they evolved and without care for time or endings - perhaps this 
is what Hopper and Rilke refer to.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Finistere, The Edge of Beauty

Brittany Coast 8
 oil on panel  11" x 14"

"Denn das schone ist nichts als des schrecklichen anfang, den wir noche grade ertragen."
For beauty is only the bearable edge of a knowing we could not endure.
R. M. Rilke

The coast where this painting was inspired is called the Finistere, or translated, the end of the earth. In medieval times it was believed to be the outcropping at the end of the knowable world by the people living there. It's easy to see how they believed this when one confronts the power of the sea and sky and rocky coast - all seeming to crash together. It is a magical place, one that conjures up questions of immense beauty and edges or limitations to what might be mortally possible. So to grab hold of some part of the effect of such a place one must go back to the basics of value and shape and space and form. Within this basic approach lies the poetry of the place, the visual impact of  elemental powers colliding.  Maybe it the only way we can find a window into understanding a small bit of the awe-filled experience of being in this world, at this time.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Into The Mystic

Brittany Coast 3
  oil on linen panel
  12" x 16"

"Hark now hear the sailors cry,
smell the sea and feel the sky,
let your soul and spirit fly
into the mystic."
Van Morrison

        There is something about the coast of Brittany, something elemental and lyrical in the huge scale of space and rock and sea and sky. I was there only a short time this spring but I am determined to get back and explore and paint. The Van Morrison song kept reverberating in my memory as I walked around these rock formations and tried to absorb what I was seeing. Building a painting one must early on decide on placing the darkest values and the lightest - while interpreting or discovering the mood and designating what will be dominant or subordinate; the light or the dark. When painting this coast, one must first reckon with the sea and what role it will play. In the painting offered here the sea surrounds and carves into the massive rocks, its colors echoed in shadows - the sunlight stands against the sea as it falls on the rocks. This is the essence of that place on that day, I hope you will agree.