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Crescent Path

BlogOde To Edward One of my favorite ways to compose is from a high vantage point, like from a bridge, a third floor balcony, or as in Crescent Path, from atop a dune. In addition to this, and the juxtaposition of the beach houses, what gave this scene life is the strong swooshing shape of…

Ode To Edward

BlogOde To Edward I connect with Edward Hopper’s work. There is a certain feeling of detachment in them, detachment from whatever is there–a figure, an interior. In the case of his House By The Railroad it is a house separated from us by a railroad track. I’m not sure my subliminal intentions were the same…

Waterfront

BlogWaterfront This is a view of East Main Street area next to the original Highway 17 bridge in Washington. Standing at the apex of a bridge gives a good vantage point. It was a cold day and the light was clear and bright. The light was warm too, making the white hulls look very yellow;…

Blue Tombstone

Blue Drift (Blue Tombstone) 44x44 acrylic on canvas

I have to sometimes put forth effort to not be overly dark or dramatic because that is my natural tendency it seems. These boats that are part of my ‘Skiff’ series can be seen to represent various aspects of life, some specific to me, others more general. And it’s not difficult for them to appear as metaphors for the more sober journeys we take.

I’m not sure what this small  skiff represents. It comes from my life and the lives around me. It could denote the path we take–all of us–from birth to death. We “drift” on the wind, as it were, on the air we breath; an unknowable existence, that no matter what we may do in life, we all have this in common–that we live and we die.

This can all become as deep and depressing as German Expressionism was in the 20’s, depending on how you look at it. But many may come to different metaphorical conclusions on this dory.

The transom on this type of boat is sometimes referred to  as the ‘tombstone’ because of it’s shape. In a way this is apropos to my storyline. But I didn’t want this piece to conjure images of death because I don’t think it’s about that (not completely anyway) and life shouldn’t be experienced as a doomed experiment.

So I call this piece Blue Drift (take the ‘Blue’ however you like) with the subtitle ‘Blue Tombstone’. I mainly kept the last because I thought it interesting.

The Sound Of Surf

The Sound Of Surf 40x66x1.5 acrylic on canvas

Art is mystery, and so is the sea. That’s how I see it, feel it. When I look at the ocean waves there is a fear, an awe inspiring type fear; I know the depths and power of the wave, that it could swallow me up without thought or care and I vanish forever. And there is art. My art specifically. It is a mystery no matter how long I’ve been doing it. What comes out onto canvas is much more than the sum of it’s parts–it is as profound as a wave is powerful.

I paint the water because it is the great mystery. It is the monster that haunts my mind and I tame it, at least there, when I paint it on canvas. I feel the power in each movement of the brush. The strokes are as if blown by the wind itself. That’s what it takes to paint convincingly–you must feel it. Command of the elements of art are only the beginning of being an artist. Depth of feeling is the unteachable thing. It comes as an ache in my muscles that guide my brush, and fulfill my motive.

You can’t think about how to feel. You just feel it. I think about the elements sometimes–this shape, this value or color, relationships in the composition–but I don’t think about how to feel. I react to my feeling.

Painting water is the closest thing I can think of to painting God, more so than any other motif. That is the goal isn’t it, with art, to find ultimate meaning and purpose.

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.