Paint for Painting’s Sake

I took my first bearings from all those artists who believed that objects existed as excuses to make paintings.  Painting has its own raison d’etre, and so if you paint a bowl it’s perfectly okay to exaggerate its contours, to have it provocatively out of proportion, to build its sides in thick strokes of paint and to have the atmosphere that envelopes it emerge from the same rich, thick substance.

The painting whose subject is solely an empty vessel has for its meaning “reality” itself.  From rim to rim, what have you got except empty air?  And into that air we can do little more than project thought.  The color red, like empty air similarly prompts its own dignity of being.  Red merely is.  Not only its symbolic association with vitality but it’s plain ol’ physics of being the low wavelength make it a beckoning presence.  Here’s a picture about nothing with all the Seinfeldian baggage such a claim inspires (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Painters have every right to make pictures that it might seem only their mothers could love.  But a blue and gold bowl on a vivid red cloth has no need for explanations.  It’s its own picture.  A real painter’s child.  This bowl is twice the painter’s child since it’s a painting of the blue paper mache bowl that the artist formed in out-of-proportion shape from the start.

[Top of the post:  painting by Aletha Kuschan]



I can say with Picasso, “I do not find, I steal.”  (He said something like that.)  I did not create, rather I adapted this cardoon.  I found it in the Hortus Eystettensis and have inserted it into several of my paintings, as here.  It doesn’t, so far as I can determine, look anything like the actual cardoon (thistle).  Perhaps some gardener out there can illuminate the mystery prompted by a comparison of the Hortus Eyestettensis image with an everyday thistle.  

 I “transplanted” four or five of the Eystettensis thistles into my painting, of which you see a detail here.  This one seems to be doing well.  Could use a little more sun.  This is my kind of gardening.  My green thumb’s got a little cadium pale mixed with viridian.

[Top of the post:  Cardoon emblem, detail of a painting in progress, by Aletha Kuschan]