"The true painter strives to paint what can only be seen through his world." ~André Malraux

After a year of intermittant "painter's block"  I am working again in my studio, and feeling in a tentative positive state. Painting is a solitary activity, and as artists, we are often working in a vacuum. Unless we have a show hanging, reaction to the work is minimal. With several pieces underway, I decided that perhaps if I write about what I am doing or am attempting to do, it might act somewhat as a muse for me as well as give me some feedback on the work I am creating -- hence the establishment of this blog. 

As for the blog title, traditional, representational painting is a language for expressing what’s visible. But I feel my work is the most successful, and most interesting, when focused on things not entirely visible. I paint what I see but also what I sense and feel by utilizing my interior and unseen world --- in other words, the invisible world. Plein air work or  studio work from photographs are only touchstones or landmarks which guide me to other inner spaces. By so doing, I find that I am pushing the boundaries between representational and abstract work.

You can enlarge the images in this blog by clicking on them.

Jan 17, 2011

Being City Mice for Three Days

Our daughter and some friends took over our house for a snow party for the long weekend, and for the three days, John and I escaped our little Vermont village and dove into city life. We spent two nights in Providence, staying with dear old friends, the Danas, at their fantastic city loft high above the old jewelry district. Highlights, aside from quality time with quality friends, included dinner at Al Forno’s, and a visit to the RISD Art Museum, which boasts a rather amazing collection of art. This city continues to enchant us.

Sunday we made our way down to Boston, staying at the incredibly designed and very sophisticated W Hotel, where we had a marvelous very hip and comfortable room, and a marvelous dinner at the famed Market restaurant on premise. But first we spent the afternoon visiting the new American Wing at the Museum of Fine Arts. I was quite taken with the new addition, and we managed to tour the entire two top floors before my stenosis told me to call it a day. You enter the 19th C floor with the famous John Singer Sargent painting so many of us know and love so well, The Daughters of Edward Darly Boit, above. While I appreciate the whole piece done with such lush, liquidy brushstrokes, with the amazing slash of red on the right (and in fact have a copy of it in my powder room), I especially love the rendering of this child, seen in detail above left. For the first time since they hung in the Boit home, the paintings of the parents of these girls were on exhibit right near this one (as were the two enormous vases), which was somehow very touching. A number of pieces on this floor were worth some lingering study, including some very small little gems such as Interior by William Merrit Chase, Icebergs  by Frederick Edward Church and Thomas Eakins’ little portrait of Walt Whitman. I also loved Homer's Gloucester Mackerel Fleet at Sunset! But the one that really got me was William Morris Hunt’s large painting of Niagara Falls, above. The layers of color were remarkable (and do not show up here really.) I also liked his Haying by Oxen on display. My favorite portrait was Whistler’s Little Rose of Lyme Regis.

Snow on Boston Common  24" x 48"
  ChildeHassam’s well known Boston Common at Twilight , above, made me think about my own winter painting of the park so many years later,  Snow on Boston Common, right,  completed two years ago. (Not that I am comparing myself to Hassam!)The snowy, darkening park in winter offers such great opportunities to paint subtle color harmonies especially with the wonderful streetlights glowing through the snow.
Upstairs on the 20th C floor, it was fun to see some Georgia O’Keefe’s that were new to me, and we loved
Hopper’s Emotion. There was a horrible Alice Neel, but I never liked her work. Oddly enough, there was a Rothko on exhibit at both museums, and although he is my favorite 20th century artist, I really did not like either one that much. At RISD  they had one from 1970 that was half white and I missed the depth and glow of color, and at MFA they had the last piece he ever painted before dying, a very somber black and purple piece. Both museums also showed work by another favorite of mine, George Inness, but also not ones I particularly admired.
A thoroughly enjoyable museum experience! And one of the images I will carry with me for a long time was seeing a very small boy, maybe two, standing between his parents, holding their hands, in front of Durand's Babbling Brook, and yelling VERY loudly " I LOVE IT!! I LOVE IT!!!" 

No comments:

Post a Comment