Friday, October 30, 2015

Stump, Edge of the Woods; "to share the mystery"; John Berger; R. M. Rilke

Stump, Edge of the Woods
oil on panel   16" x 16"

"The challenge is to try not just to explain the mystery, but to ensure the mystery is shared and doesn't remain isolated."
John Berger

"Therein lies the enormous aid 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

Somewhere I once read a quote that said "the forest must devour itself in order to be reborn". Anyone who walks deliberately through a forest becomes aware of this process of life and death and renewal, all around one. In all seasons some part of the life cycle is in action. The markers of this phenomena are, for me, the remains of fallen trees - the stumps. Scattered throughout a wood, they each are in a differing state of decay, mossy or dry, new fallen or ancient and powdery.  However interesting biologically and historically, the woodland life cycle is not my primary reason for painting and finding images there. 
These stumps are sources of color and reflectors of light, casting shadows, occupying form and mass. They are a refuge and a visual trigger amongst the monotony of the green canopy and the vertical trees. I am drawn to them as well because they provide me an avenue away from the dictatorial quality of nature - they provide an avenue for me to explore the things I love about making paintings, the emphatic quality of thick paint; the visual impact of intense color; the truth of the flat surface; the visual tension between changing positive and negative space. The challenge, to my way of thinking, is to take these vestiges of modernism and get them to still describe the essence of a place and a subject. I guess this struggle is the "knot in the rosary at which my days recite a prayer". Hope you will enjoy the result!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Early Autumn Stump, "art is a triumph" John Cheever; Friedrich Nietzsche;

Early Autumn Stump
 oil on panel  16" x 16"

" is the triumph over celebrate a world that lies spread out around us 
like a bewildering and stupendous dream"
John Cheever

"We have art in order to not die from the truth."
Friedrich Nietzsche

The whole triumph over chaos idea appeals to me a great deal. After a chaotic summer and early fall of starting and stopping work in favor of family duties and travel and such - and though I do as a habit of life work every day - good stuff and life interrupted for a while.
So now I am home and back to work without anything looming on the horizon and I am blown away with the bewildering and stupendous dreaming, visual world and the difficulty in coming to grips with it with a brush. Perhaps returning and relearning and new seeing are the secrets to vitality and joy. Certainly they bring one to face the limitations of one's hand and the struggle to reconcile that with the essence, 
the truth of what lies before us. Somewhere on that razor thin edge might be found what we hope is art. Only time can say, in the meantime -  Enjoy!