Tuesday, July 03, 2007

This is almost finished. It is not from Monhegan but is based on an oil study I did the first time I went painting in Maine twenty years ago. From that sketch I did a painting that hung in my Grandmother's apartment for many years; I got it back when she died a few years ago. I've been copying the painting that was Grandma's: http://etorak.blogspot.com/2007/05/i-am-copying-seascape-i-painted-years.html and just today dug up the original plein air study; maybe I'll post it tomorrow. Truthfully, I was never too wild about Grandma's painting but I loved the study and would never sell it though I had several offers. There is something about the image that really grabs me and I keep coming back to it.

The spot is in Acadia National Park. I think it is Otter Cliffs, but I'm not positive; it was so long ago. I've painted there a couple of times and every time it affects me in the same way: I get a huge rush of fire in the belly and the all-consuming need to paint - now. There is something about the mist alternately shrouding and revealing the rocks, the water pouring into the womb-like circle of stone, the almost seamless transition from water to fog to cloud to sky that completely sends me: it is so loaded with metaphor and those metaphors act on me like a physical sensation.

Reminds me of the time I saw a rare Taoist scroll at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They had the entire thing unfurled; to view it I walked very slowly alongside. The scroll opened first on a mountainous landscape with little figures moving in the valleys. As I walked the figures began to climb the mountains; as they did so they got smaller. Gradually they ascended the peaks; then disappeared altogether. Then the mountains disappeared and there was only cloud. The experience was so transcending that I felt I had begun the scroll as one person and at the end was a different one. What I want to do with this piece is express what was in that 20-ft scroll in a single oil painting. Not too ambitious.

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