"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 31, 2011

Like Grass Under the Wind

I received a Facebook friend request this week from a retired teacher in York, ME where the writer May Sarton spent her last 20 years, thanking me for starting the May Sarton page on FB. There is going to be a big celebration for what would have been her 100th birthday up there in 2012, and I intend to go. As well as working in the studio, I have been dipping into her poetry recently. Her journals, for which she is arguably best known, have nourished and sustained me over the years, but her poetry, for which she most wanted to be remembered, can also at times be well worth a read. Her poetry is uneven -- she is no Mary Oliver: I think one of the problems I have is that I do not really like contemporary poetry that rhymes. But she weaves nature, art and love into her work, and this one spoke to me today. I am sure she was thinking in terms of writing, but to me, it applies to painting as well:

by May Sarton 

Here is the pond, here sky, and the long grasses
That lean over the water, a slow ripple
Under the slightest wandering air that passes
To shift the scene, translating flat to stipple
On still blue water and troubling green masses.

Three elements are spaced and subtly joined
To rest the restless mind and lift us where
Nothing in us is baffled or constrained,
Who wake and sleep as casual as they are,
And contain earth, and water, and the wind.

Take blue; take green; take pale gold sand;
Take the slow changing shimmer of the air;
Take a huge sky above a steadfast land;
Take love, the tiger ocean in its lair,
and gentle it like grass under the wind. 

It reminded me of a number of paintings I have done of grasses over water, with a blue and ochre palette, such as this one, sold a few years back. 
"Salt Marsh"  12" x  12" oil on canvas
 And this one is  is just as it is here now. She lived in Maine, and thus had the same lack of traditional spring as do we here in Vermont. But we treasure the changes that do appear about this time of year, tantalizing little promises . . .  the returning songbirds, the activity in the hives, the whisper of spring on the forsythia and willow bushes, the seasonal shift in light and the longer days ... 

March Mad
by May Sarton 

The strangely radiant skies have come
to lift us out of our winter's gloom,
A paler, more transparent blue,
A softer gold light on fresh snow.
It is a naked time that bares
Our slightly worn-down hopes and cares,
And sets us listening for frogs,
And sends us to seed catalogues
To bury our starved eyes and noses
In an extravagance of roses.
And order madly at this season 
When we have had enough of reason

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