"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.

Jun 13, 2012

Painterly Paris with Pals

Although the primary focus of our recent trip to France was to gather and hang out with a very close group of high school friends, in between drinking wine, eating the usual extraordinary French food, laughing and crying, we did manage to fit in a few cultural activities.

I think my favorite was the exhibit at the Pinacoteque Museum "The Jonas Collection: Modligliani, Soutine and the Adventure of Montparnasse". Pinacotheque de Paris is fairly new in the world of art museums.  It was founded in 2007 as a private museum - one of the few in Paris. To walk into an exhibit of Modigliani works never before exhibited was an extraordinary experience. Like a schoolgirl, I even bought the lovely poster which I am framing for the condo! (See above.) 

Netter, one of the most prominent collectors of the 20th century, really "made" Modigliani. Developing an early passion for M's work, Netter amassed a collection of some 40 paintings by the late 1920's, along with many done by Utrillo, whose white period he admired, and Soutine. Without Netter, Modigliani, Soutine and Utrillo, also represented in this show, would probably never have

become well known. This exhibit finally pays Netter the attention he deserves, and allows the public to discover an absolutely stunning body of work, highlighted and dominated by the Modiglianis. My favorite was "Girl in Blue" left. I could not tear myself away from it.

Self Portrai
We also spent a few hours at Musée Maillol at an exhibit of Artemesia Gentileschi, a very successful woman painter in the 1600's. In a time and place where women were regarded as even less than second-class citizens, Artemisia Gentileschi broke all the laws of the society at 16 by legally (in court) disgracing a man for raping her and later for becoming a such a well-known artist -- even eclipsing her well-known father Orazio Gentileschi. Seeking her own independence and artistic prowess, she worked tirelessly for princes and cardinals, and for herself. Like Caravaggio, it took three centuries for it to be  re appreciated, recognized and universally applauded. Her work often portrays women as assertive beings, capable of giving themselves over to both crime and pleasure (often both at the same time), thus breaking away from the sexist conventions of the 17th century. Her work was then shunned by patriarchal society for centuries; but finally she is being recognized as one of the most revolutionary Italian artists of the Baroque period. This exhibition, at the Musée Maillol, reinstates Artemisia as a painting genius.

Upstairs at the museum was a small selection of work by Séraphine Louis, known as "Séraphine de Senlis" ("Séraphine of Senlis") 1864–1942

 .Did any of you see the marvelous French film about her?) which was great fun to see. A very poor, uneducated  self-taught painter, this  housemaid was influenced by the stained glass windows in churches. With almost no money, she made her own paint colors from plants and animals that she developed herself, all while doing menial jobs to keep painting.Séraphine's naif work is very detailed and exquisite, and she only painted flowers and nature.

Aside from that, we toured the beautiful Cluny which never disappoints, attended a lovely music concert at a church near our friend's Left Bank Paris apartment, and some of them went to The Louvre one night. I did not go,too tired!

Back home I got into my own studio, and have three paintings underway. I need more work, the galleries are asking for it. I sold three pieces through East End Gallery, the gallery which handles my work in  Nantucket, which is nice.
A lot of Old Lefties on the Left Bank --- dinner at our friend's atelier apartment.The woman on the left and I have been best buddies since we were six, the rest of us since high school.