Thursday, September 1, 2016

Sunday At Pemaquid Light, Samuel Becket and "Dispassionate acceptance", Rocks At Quoddy Head

Sunday At Pemaquid Light
oil on panel   11" x 14"

"A kind of petrified insight into one's ultimate hard irreducible inorganic singleness. 
All handled with a dispassionate acceptance."
Samuel Beckett 
writing of the paintings of Jack B. Yeats

In the end, painting is coming to grips with one's shortcomings in the face of an impossibility - the capturing of light and the compression of time. The bracing energy found in that attempt is found in its honesty, 
in its immersion in all the swirling chaos of nature. 
Nothing will point all of this out to the painter more clearly than trying to paint the sea and rocks along the Maine coast. The rapid tides coupled with the ever changing sky and fogs and wind will seem a harsh test. That is until one accepts the conditions as part of the deal - the place gives off so much visual energy that it will pull one in
 almost like a rip tide. 
There is nothing in nature I've found that exhibits one's "hard irreducible inorganic singleness" as that crashing surf and jagged rocks.   The petrified insight and dispassionate acceptance are a necessary part of trying to paint there - understanding how the light and elements are constantly in flux the painter has to land on a visual incident rapidly and surely. Then, using every ounce of seeing skill, recording dexterity and memory, the painter has to cling to the original poetic vision. In the final measure one accepts and plans the next foray into such a contest 
that is in itself a reward.
The painting, 'Sunday At Pemaquid Light', was done about a week ago, accompanied by a painter friend of skill - we began in sun and clarity and ended with fog rolling and the light squelched. We had difficulty scrambling over rocks and finally retreated. Below is from a year ago near another lighthouse at Quoddy Head, further up the coast. Enjoy!

Rocks At Quoddy Head
 oil on panel  10" x 10"

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