Thursday, January 19, 2017

Salt Air, Near Cutler; Andrew Wyeth, Walt Whitman; "What is it that you express in your eyes?"

Salt Air, Near Cutler, Maine
 oil on mounted canvas
32" x 32"

"The way I feel about things is so much better than the way I've been able to paint them. The image I had in my head before I started is not quite - never quite - completely conveyed in paint."
Andrew Wyeth

"What is it that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the print 
I have read in my life."
Walt Whitman

Wyeth is right, of course: one cannot make paint do magic or capture light. All one is left with is to find and express the effect of light and shadow, the color of the atmosphere at a particular time of day in a particular place. One cannot get bogged down with what one painter called the "tragic inevitability", that the whole enterprise might have been better with a completely different approach. Instead one must cling to the initial poetic spark as long as possible and mine that spark for color scheme and design choices. And as one eases into the painting, allow the painting process to gain an equal voice as measured against the origin. Allow the painting to tell what it needs, what should be discarded. Then a different kind of magic emerges - the effect of the poetic beginning filtered through the artist's sensibilities and struggles. While the work may not completely convey the original vision it now carries a piece of the artist's spirit (especially true of the power of Wyeth's work)
What could be better than this outcome for any of us?  Enjoy!

Monday, January 16, 2017

December Tree; Albert Einstein, Robert Motherwell; The most beautiful experience.

December Tree
  oil on panel  16" x 18"

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious - the fundamental emotion tat stands at the cradle of true art and true science."
Albert Einstein

"Art is an experience, not an object."
Robert Motherwell

I have found the experience that is making paintings or drawings. the mysterious trigger that sustains creativity, is most surely found in the edges between human development and wildness, between human commerce and unkempt country. Or, like this oak tree, places out of reach and tantalizing, free from us simply because of where they are found. These oak trees are right outside my home and my studio. Some days I will simply gaze into their top branches and dream among them as they sway in the wind. Some days one can feel the weight of these monsters, anchored in the earth. Always they are a place for thinking about how process connects to the feeling or the poetry of vision.  So for 30 years they have been a subject and a retreat as I live below them. This painting is on a early December day when a 180 year old oak is catching a breeze in its upper branches and warming in the low sunlight. Almost a stolen moment before winter sets in. Enjoy!