"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 28, 2011

Winter Sketches and Winter Gatherings

Oil painting sketch on 12 x 12 canvas, Nantucket
I am having a grand time in the studio this week--- just lazily playing around with paint, and making some very simple but layered paintings. . Yesterday, I actually found myself saying out loud to no one at all, “This is FUN!!”  Each layer is important to the painting -- I don't want to hide the layers as the painting builds. I want each step that leads up to the finished piece to be visible: a friend tells me that this is one of the tenets of Abstract Expressionism. I do remember from my study of those AE giants from the middle of the last century that they somehow shifted the emphasis from the painting- as-a- final-object-to the struggle – and joy -- of the creation itself. The finished painting thus becomes simply the physical evidence of what is really the important thing---incorporating the visual record of the process of the painting's creation. For them, the finished canvas or board was to show evidence of the actual WORK of the painter -- all of the spontaneous and/ or manipulated and planned brush strokes, scrumbles, dribbles, drips , and glazing and staining --  rubbed and scraped away, and added again. In their case, you end up with a DeKoonig or Pollack, in my case, when successful, I end up with a painting that is certainly less abstract than theirs , but richly organic, with layers that create a sense of texture, depth and patina. This type of painting is instinctive to me, and nothing that I learned, certainly not from the rebellious and somewhat anarchistic Abstract Expressionists! Anyway, this week I was not painting for work to show (or hang on the fridge!) but to learn, and to play. Sometimes you just have to get the fun back. Above is one of the quick studies I did in this mode, a 12” x 12” Nantucket inspired moment. The detail shows the layering of the paint.

I didn't have much time to paint this week though--- had to brave the -15 temperature Monday to go out and do some errands, and buy some food in preparation for our State of the Union gathering here Tuesday night I Jersey Joes--- the kind of sloppy Joe that is unique to New Jersey as far as I know, remembered fondly from a couple of the Jewish Deli’s I knew. I was just craving some! They are three- layered sandwiches on seedless Jewish rye bread, with Turkey, Pastrami, Swiss cheese, cole slaw and home-made Russian Dressing, toothpicked and cut into rather small triangles or squares. The recipe I found was perfect. (My very naughty dog managed to get on the kitchen counter while I was out of the room for a few seconds and he gobbled up four sections of them!) Also made a good Mushroom Barley Soup, and eight of us gathered to eat, drink, and toast our President. (which we felt went swimmingly, As I said on Facebook,”. . .  a very different kind of State of the Union from a very different kind of President—I still have high hopes.”) And Wednesday was our book club discussion of Suite Française, at Liz’s
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/09/books/review/09gray.html and Thursday preparation for visit from Mike and family and that night John and I were wonderfully taken to dinner by good friends to celebrate our 47th anniversary. It seems unreal to me. But then I look at the wedding photos and wonder, were we ever so young, so filled with future dreams, and possibilities. 

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