Dark and light, night and day

— elemental themes appeal to me.  They beckon like dreams. I do a lot of traditional kinds of pictures — and I love the discipline of tightly focused imagery like a vase of flowers — very basic — takes you to the foundations of seeing — it is to pictorial art what the sonnet is to poetry.  But I also venture periodically into stream-of-consciousness kinds of imagery.

Sometimes I hear that call again. I am not sure what sort of thing I’ve a yen for just now, but winter’s long nights and cold clear days are great for firing up the imagination.

Not knowing what’s next, I’m watchful for ideas.  In just such moods I find that ideas arrive.  Someone told me once that I needed to pick a theme and create a consistent portfolio, and I am NEVER — DOING  — THAT.  I follow the river current of thought because I know from experience that it leads to good places.

You go off in some tangent, but later you find that the wild explorations allow you to bring back knowledge — knowledge of a sort that you can apply again even to the traditional things — to even the simple vase of flowers.

Everything you learn enriches everything that you know already. So be bold, be daring.

4 thoughts on “looking back, thinking ahead

  1. These paintings are very evocative to me – great to see how you combine line, value and color in your work. And they are huuuge! I now see why you previously said (“Small, about 18×24”). They are really impressive, standing there like that, filling up the wall space. Have you sold these?
    Your post also resonated with where I am at the moment. I am really painting just for the process – letting the painting in front of me guide step by step. The key – which is really scary – it to work without too fixed an idea of the outcome. This can get tricky in representational work!

  2. Thank you, Fritz. I was making and experimenting with large decorative works some years back and these are prototypes. Both the paintings are in acrylic which I used because of its fast drying time and because it doesn’t need a stretcher. Both paintings happen to be mounted on stretchers in the photo but they could also be displayed as tapestries — as the black one was once in an exhibit. I haven’t sold them. And I had to put the whole project on the back burner. But I have been wanting to go back into this manner of imagery and pursue it again. And both these images are ones that I want to do as oil paintings. I’ll feel that they’re definitive when they are made in oil which is my preferred medium.

    The idea of painting as process is one I understand. Indeed the dark painting of these two was one of several works where the aim was to use black as a color — to seek spaces inside a generalized black area — and I experimented with different genres — a still life of flowers against a black background and here a koi pond and dream overlaid imagery of flowers in a predominantly black key. The black is not to be flat — but inky and subtle and evocative. I’m still interested in the idea and thinking I’d like to return to it again.

    Anyway, I’m glad they connected. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Oh, by the way, most of the pictures displayed are fairly large. The full moon scene is about 50 inches by 60 inches (don’t recall the exact dimensions off hand) and the abstract drawing to its left is about the same size (artists crayons on Canson), the tree image thingy in acrylic above it is 100 inches wide and about 80 inches tall. To its right I’ve displayed a small ink drawing for an idea, but above that one — the dark abstracted koi imagery — that’s composed on two large sheets of paper so it’s pretty humongous. There’s a studio shot of the Koi Pond while it was on the studio wall in progress, a large koi drawing about 50x 60, and the installation picture of two paintings together in an empty apartment that became my studio for a while. The largest picture in the display is, however, a small one — a concept drawing in oil pastel for the dark koi pond image ….

  4. You are welcome, these are great! I think I understand what you are trying to do with the black. I find it is a tricky color to use – it can easily lead to dead spots in my hands. But if you can enter it with some warm color taking you into the black – what an effect!

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