The Soft Side Of Paradise

The Soft Side Of Paradise 36x36x1.5 acrylic on canvas

I was taking a video course in art school and I made a “short”, about 3 minutes I think, which consisted of an old house on lifts, about to be moved. I come back to this theme quite a bit. Even when I paint a condo on the beach, like in The Soft Side of Paradise, there is more than material to these works, I’ve discovered. It’s a feeling I have, of brooding maybe, I’m not sure exactly how to say it.

I think about Wyeth’s painting Trodden Weed, how his imagery was more than subject–it was psychological. My architecture is a reflection of something much deeper than mere brick and stone, wood and vinyl.

I try to figure out what I’m really after once I finish a piece. It’s not something I think about beforehand. I want the imagery to come forth naturally, without effort, and with it comes everything that I am. In my artist’s statement I say it also…

“I respond to a feeling that grows out of my response to the light, colors, contrasts–by all that is experienced of a scene. My subjects, and how I present them, reflect inner conditions. I choose them because of how they make me feel; it is not a cognitive process.”

See also my post The Real Vision on The Painter’s Tongue.


  1. Susan Holland
    October 26, 2014

    What a stirring piece! You are describing a dream-like state, Marcus, that I recognize and can see in a finished painting. I have been there rarely, though. What a transporting experience. And you realize when it’s over that it was extraordinary. The zone? The sweet spot!

    1. MT McClanahan
      October 27, 2014

      Yes, that is the “letting it come naturally, without effort” part I think.

      The other is your inner self that wants to speak through what you see. It’s like I am only a channel–a means–through which the inner person attempts to be heard. And it must speak through some creative means; I can’t just say it–I may not even know what it is to say–it must come out “spiritually (for lack of a better word).

      And what connection there is between it being “heard” and the artist being in that “dream-like state” as you say, I’m not sure except that it must needs that it come “naturally”.


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