"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.

Mar 19, 2011


The portrait is finished, and the mother of the girl seems very happy with it. What else can I ask for: who knows better whether what I have created captures the essence, the joy, of this daughter, than her mother. Below is the finished piece, not looking just like the photo, because apparently the photo had somehow elongated and narrowed her face.  


Someday I would like to do a serious painting of my own lovely daughter. Here is a poem I came across this week, about daughters, that resonated with me. 

Prayer for Our Daughters

by Mark Jarman

May they never be lonely at parties
Or wait for mail from people they haven't written
Or still in middle age ask God for favors
Or forbid their children things they were never forbidden.

May hatred be like a habit they never developed
And can't see the point of, like gambling or heavy drinking.
If they forget themselves, may it be in music
Or the kind of prayer that makes a garden of thinking.

May they enter the coming century
Like swans under a bridge into enchantment
And take with them enough of this century
To assure their grandchildren it really happened.

May they find a place to love, without nostalgia
For some place else that they can never go back to.
And may they find themselves, as we have found them,
Complete at each stage of their lives, each part they add to.

May they be themselves, long after we've stopped watching.
May they return from every kind of suffering
(Except the last, which doesn't bear repeating)
And be themselves again, both blessed and blessing.


I had a call from CMS, the arts showroom in New Jersey where I just took my work, telling me they think they have sold the giclee I brought them, "White on White." That was fast, hope it is a good omen.

And I have had conversations this week with an artist friend (who happens to be Nelson Rockefeller's daughter and is a lovely woman) who is involved with the Vermont Studio Center. Founded by artists in 1984, the Studio Center is the largest international artists' and writers' Residency Program in the United States, hosting 50 visual artists and writers each month from across the country and around the world. If accepted to receive a studio residency, you go for two to 12 weeks to the  historic 30-building campus along the Gihon River in Johnson, Vermont, a village in the heart of the northern Green Mountains up here. You live in one of many farmhouses on the campus in a private room, get all your meals, and are given a private studio in which to work. There are often writers and artists who come to lecture, and much give and take between the artists in the program when you are. I think it sounds like heaven. I told her I would be interested in doing it in November, or January-March of next year, times when I am just as happy not to be here. She seemed to think I would have no problem getting in the program, especially if I do not apply for a scholarship, which I would not. I am seriously thinking about it. Of course when I would REALLY have liked to do this would have been back in the day when I was juggling home, family and job, with NEVER any time to paint. But even now, the thought of that block of time with no meals to plan or cook, no one to think about except myself, no TV, no noise, no obligations, no responsibilities except to myself, and with my own studio, wow. I wish my son in law could come with me. (But I don;t wish that upon my daughter!)

Meanwhile, with the portrait completed, I am free to work stress free in my studio, and cannot wait to begin! I plan to get about three pieces going at once. Tomorrow!! 

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