But we artists hear the word and feel a cold-sweat break out. We understand the concept, and even see the validity of the gallery owner's viewpoint, but does it mean we don’t have any latitude to experiment and evolve? To my mind, real consistency can become a straightjacket to creativity. I remember how my friend Nancy Gerlach said, after leaving her successful pastel landscape stage and entering into the study of abstract printmaking in her 70's, that she just wasn't "THERE" anymore -- where the traditional landscapes had come from.
I know some painters, such as my friend Henry Isaacs, maintain a very consistent and recognizable body of work throughout their careers. Others grow as their visions change, either rather abruptly and dramatically as Eric Aho did, moving from a realistic and simple, striking impressionism to his current expressive abstractions which are far more cluttered and busy.
What I have settled on, in an effort to be consistent but
also to evolve, is to utilize the same subject matter for periods at a time. By focusing upon only two subjects in the past few years, I did not become at all bored, but rather found that that the more time I spend painting the intricacies of forsythia and seascapes, the more I began to see that there is an infinite variety in the nuances of any subject. I have done this before: early on in my serious painting career, I spent years on oversized up close in your
face flowers, mostly roses and iris. I did the same thing with horses -- in my past are a LOT of paintings of wildly flowing manes and horses' eyes.
Constable went from painting a realistic landscape to an expressive one. There are a few whose work underwent quite dramatic change over a short period of time, such as
Philip Guston who turned away from abstraction towards a narrative representation, combining a cartoon style with the luscious brushwork of his abstract paintings. I remember the shock of seeing this new body of work, and how long it took for viewers to accept it. I can imagine him just being tired of making those beautiful paintings, and wanting to shake things up.
For this show, "Old Friends, New Work" I am showing mostly my new seascapes, or rather my four-piece series of
the place where the wave spill meets the sand on a beach,
the seafoam, which I call " ... where the dark, wet sand turns grey" One of them sold at the show, which is kind of too bad, because they make the most impact as a group. But that gets rather pricey. This is truly where my heart is right now, I guess you could call that spot at the water's edge my muse.
These paintings are the result of inspiration from the dynamic interactions between light, color and movement found on the sand by the sea ... the constant ebb and flow of the tides, the changing patterns of wind and surf, the sand just as it meets the water.
|12 x 12 oil on canvas|
|12 x 12 oil on canvas|
because their simple dignity, in the face of their diminished value, speaks to me of emptiness and sadness, abandonment in the face of progress, and the hard work of long ago lives.
painterly joy; several of the barn paintings in the show incorporate these yellow harbingers of spring.
the Hathorn Studio classrooms, where we learned some basics from the same art professors.
|"Sunlight Laced with Shadow" 30 x 46 oil on canvas with tissue underlay|