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]


5 thoughts on “Paint for Painting’s Sake

  1. I don’t know nearly enough about the practice of painting, nothing actually, being a writer, but reading your posts back this far and looking at your work had really helped me understand what’s going in a painter’s mind. I don’t think it’s pretentious at all, revealing and fascinating in fact, especially the one about the abstract which really made it clearer in my mind what that was all about and related in a way to my writing. So thanks.

  2. Thank you very much, Paul, for your kind words. I’m glad to hear that my blog has had this effect on you since it’s the goal I’ve sought — really just to reveal an artist’s point of view and to celebrate painting and observation of life generally. The world is a beautiful place. It’s good to be watchful and curious.

    I’m glad too that you find a relationship to writing in the comments for I think a strong relationship exists certainly between writing and painting. Indeed I think there are strong links among all the arts and to science also — among all the artifacts of human endeavor.

    Thanks for commenting.

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