"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.

Jul 30, 2011

Creating Something New from the Familiar: Bait for Viewers

These lovely summer days, when I sit down at the easel, I find myself creating paintings which are more abstract than any of my work since about 1985, when I was for a few years working in an abstract expressionist mode. An example of that era of work can be seen below.
"Fragments of Actuality"  36" x 36"  oil and pear paper on canvas

 From there I evolved into a "you know what it is but it is done very differently" frame of mind ...  see poor photo of painting of wild horse below ...
"Wild Stallion"  36" x 36"  oil on canvas   (sold, long ago)

...and then somehow I became much more of a realist for many years. But recently,I have once again started reaching towards a more abstracted approach.
My current work, as with the horse, revolves around my efforts to interpret a realistic subject in a completely individual way; my approach is very intuitive and organic, usually starting with thin washes on a blank canvas, often with underlayed areas of soft, crinkled pear paper which I love. The process then evolves into the use of painting knives, paper towels, my fingers and other objects, as well as brushes, to apply the paint -- layering and layering, and then finding out what is underneath! I also am bringing with me a hardfought (and not always successful) ability to keep my mind open to what the process will reveal.

My work is still firmly rooted in, and inspired by, landscape, seascape and buildings, but I find myself departing from the college-taught theories and formalities of representational art which have guided me in the past.  I guess I am trying to create something new from the familiar. My work this week takes the sea and its environs as my subject because I need to take some new work up to the Nantucket gallery which represents me. With these recent seascapes, I am trying to continue and enlarge upon my “Water’s Edge” series of the past few years, and to transcend typical seascape representation. I pick my composition, often from photographs, often from memory, and try to reach the heart and soul of each particular scene or dream. I work until I feel I have a work that is absorbing, reflective, and also makes the viewer think a bit. Unlike some abstract artists, I am not really looking to disturb: I still aim for painterly interest and some kind of beauty in my work. Here is one of the very recent seascapes. I was all over the studio with this one, flinging paint about, and getting myself and the studio into very much of a mess.The glow of the sun does not show up in this photo.
"Shallowing Breakers"  20" x 20" oil and pear paper on canvas

When speaking about his earlier work, Eric Aho was described as “ .. at first glance, … a most accomplished landscapist, but in reality he is an abstract-expressionist using farm buildings and turbulent skies as bait for viewers. His latest oil paintings, suavely brushed and knowingly layered, are in reality artworks about art.” This is where I am trying to go.

As an aside, and not exactly on point with the above discussion, I am also working on the Italian village street scenes. The one I put in this blog earlier in its initial configuration is now looking like this, and I have several more underway. 
"Montefioralle #1"  6" x 6"  oil and tissue paper on canvas

SO I am not abandoning the representational altogether, when it affords opportunity for wonderful colors, light, and texture such as these.

1 comment:

  1. Please keep in mind that you can click on the painting photos to see a larger version. With my poor photography that is not always a good thing, but sometimes it helps to see brushwork, etc.