"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.

May 2, 2012

Yellows, Blues and Earth Tones

I imagined I would come back from Santa Fe, where we spent a week this month, all fired up to paint the scenery, or at least try some Georgia O'Keeffe stylized work. But whereas I was blown away by the Santa Fe area, and absolutely mesmerized by all I learned about O'Keeffe, in my studio I am right back to my own local landscape work, in my own style.
O'Keefe's simple bedroom, with views.

 But surely a bit of the place, a bit of the woman, has rubbed off on me. I was deeply moved when touring her home at Abiquiu: I am not sure I have ever been anywhere where I felt the spirit of someone as much as I did in that very simple pueblo home, the courtyard, and within the walls of her gardens. Look at the colors above!
Upper and lower left, the oftpainted  courtyard. Upper right, within the house, and lower right, view of the pueblo.
The door in the courtyard which was, she said the reason she bought the house,      and the subject of many, many of her paintings.
 You just feel her there, as you take in the familiar -- from her work --  panoramic views from the top of her driveway and her bedroom and studio of the Chama River Valley, and in the distance, the Angre de Cristo Mountain Range, the Abiquiu Mesa.

Dishes are on counter under shelves to left, next to the scale
I was THRILLED to see that she had the same set of dishes, "Ruska by the Finnish company Arabia, that I have had since I got married!  You can just see some of them in her kitchen on the counter shelf next to the scale, above. 

The area around her home, and the drive from there up to her earlier home, which remained her summer place, Ghost Ranch, was absolutely beautiful.

Street scene with Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi
Museum of Art

Even the parking lots are adobe!
 ALL of the Santa Fe area was beautiful, inspiring. And the small city -- more of a large town at 20,000 year round inhabitants -- was as lovely and exciting as everyone says it is. Like Nantucket, all buildings have to be to code, either old adobe or "Santa Fake" adobes, and the result is a harmonious whole, with beautiful vistas and vignettes wherever you look. Once you get used to the city's rigorous insistence that every building should look like either a seventeenth-century Spanish colonial palace or worker's hovel, strolling around its compact, peaceful downtown is a real pleasure. Nothing is more than about three stories tall, with a few exceptions ... churches, some hotels. The food is extraordinary, so good that since we got home we have been on starvation diets. 

The other place that fascinated and awed was Bandelier National Monument.  From their brochure: "Bandelier National Monument protects over 33,000 acres of rugged but beautiful canyon and mesa country as well as evidence of a human presence here going back over 11,000 years.  Petroglyphs, dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs, and standing masonry walls pay tribute to the early days of the Anasazi  culture that still survives in the surrounding communities."

I actually climbed up to a dwelling

 My husband went on to the really far up dwelling with three huge ladders, I did not accompany him!
Once again, the petroglyphs fascinated, as they did in Sedona last year. Here are a few which attest to the fact that man has always been inspired to create art. I stood there and felt almost a mystical connection to those long ago builders, artists, human beings who lived in this place.

On our trip, we concentrated on the land and the area rather than the multitude of galleries and museums which we just touched upon, so we want to go back, perhaps in winter. I did find one work of art  admired greatly, on the famous Canyon Road of galleries, which makes Santa Fe the second largest art center in the USA, after New York.

Back home, life has gone on as usual except after a week of eating at one fine restaurant after another, and prior to our upcoming trip to France, we have been eating and drinking NOTHING! I have gotten in some studio time, and managed to complete the barn painting, one of series I have done over the past few years.
Blue and Gold in Winter  oil on canvas

The barn paintings are one place where I remain rather traditional in my approach. 

In addition, I have begun a large piece, of forsythia, in brilliant and varied yellows with a skyblue background. I have done many small forsythia paintings in the past, but never one on this scale. I told John I felt as if I were Jackson Pollack, flinging great gobs of paint at the canvas, spraying spirits on it, just happily mucking about. It is not yet viewable, next blog.