Saturday, April 28, 2007

I know I haven't written anything about this one. At first I thought that I was not inspired to write anything because I am painting this piece in a non-verbal mode: I keep telling myself 'don't think, paint' I don't want to get caught in a maze of thought, I just want to move through this piece: feel it, paint it, don't slow down. For the most part I've been successful with this strategy: the piece is moving along nicely and is pretty close to being finished. But thought will enter in. No matter how firmly I try to close the door on thinking, imagining, trying to push to a new piece of artistic territory, those seductive thoughts find a way to reach me; barring the door only forces them in the windows and up through the floor boards. And those thoughts (in revenge?) are more powerful and insidious than ever. "Why are you content to paint what is front of you ?" they ask. "Fine so you can do a beautiful still life - but what about painting what is unseen? You know there are other dimensions, you know you see more than this, that the poetry isn't fully realized - can't you get all this in? Can't you find a better language - while retaining this one of course - why don't you reach further?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Still Life Day 1. Painted for six hours yesterday and then collapsed. I probably pushed myself too hard but when you are painting flowers you have to move quickly. I'm keeping the studio cool so that they last as long as possible. This is a shame as I prefer to be toasty when I'm working; and also the paint moves better when the studio is hot - too bad, the longevity of the flowers has top priority!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

This is a figure drawing from a few weeks ago. It isn't the subject of this post, which is the big still life I spent Friday and Saturday setting up and plan to start working on tomorrow, but I couldn't imagine a post without an image so I dug this one up and I think it looks pretty good for a 20 minute pose.

About the still life. You would think that an artist with four paintings already in the works would finish at least one of those pieces before starting a new one and indeed I wish I had done so, but the still life impulse came and I knew I had to go with it. The figure ideas will still be fresh when I get back to them in a few weeks: figure ideas keep forever. The seascape needs to marinate anyway. I'm not sure how to continue with it and just have to wait until I know what to do. Still life inspiration, on the other hand, doesn't last: it perishes just like fruit or flowers - though not as quickly, thank God!

I notice that I get the urge to do a still life when the seasons change. The last time I did a big still life was last fall; now it is spring. The change in the season must cause a shift in some internal tectonic plate - Aristotle would probably call this a Movement of the Soul - and the result is an eruption of artistic energy for still life: the desire to paint something immediate and physical and part of the changing natural world.