"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.

Apr 15, 2011

Unwrapping Bright Spring

Because it is so emblematic of early spring, and because it is joyfully everywhere this time of year, it is hard for me to believe that Forsythia is such a relatively recent arrival to the United States, coming only about 100 years ago. A native of eastern Asia, forsythia is part of the Oleaceae (olive) family. The genus in English is named after William Forsyth who oversaw the Kensington Palace gardens in the late 18th C. In Korea, where the shrub is known as goldenbells, there is a legend about the forsythia which has made it a symbol not only of the first sign of the return of spring but also of returning love. Legend has it that a married man went on a long journey and after being away for many years, he had begun to take his wife for granted. When he returned home, he found his wife waiting patiently for him in the garden, and he was struck by how beautiful she was. He wrote a poem which he sang to her that said while forsythias and apricot blossoms may bloom and fade, “in the bamboo shade of my mountain home forever abides my Love, my All.” 

With no forsythia in my landscape yet, I spent the week imagining, and painting them. This one, taken from a photo in my daughter's yard, is about finished. I tried to keep it loose and open, layering colors and texture. Hopefully the forsythia is singing out from the painting, with everything else fading into the background, as that was my intent. I have also included a few details of the painting which show the brushwork better.

"Unwrapping Bright Spring "  18"x18"    oil on canvas
Detail # 1

Detail # 2

I wish you all a very happy spring.



  1. I have gotten a number of favorable comments on this piece via emails and several folks suggest I try some with composition as in the "detail" shots. I love the feedback, often find it helpful, so please keep it coming preferably on the blog itself so others can see it.

  2. Gorgeous! Reminds me of Handell's landscapes!


  4. Debbie, thank you for your comments on my painting, your words are always appreciated!

  5. So eagerly awaiting forsythia! Great to see yours. Especially like detail #2. The grey pairs so well with the golden.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing. Almost like being there in person.
    Din storebror