When an artist paint things, she always hopes that others will understand the thing the way she understands it. The little seashell painting (9 x 12 inches in size) catches a mood for me (who am far from the sea) of water, waves and wind. The conch is a tropical animal and even the warmth of a faraway place comes to me when I portray the shells.
The nervous brushstrokes are the way I experience drawing the object whose forms are so incredibly lovely and complicated. I love following all the passages of color than I can manage to imitate. I am always longing to imitate all of it, everything that I see, and I don’t know if that is possible. But the longing is an end in itself. I cherish the longing that the beauty of the seashell evokes.
When photographs of pictures happen by chance to appear side by side, sometimes you discover relationships between images that you didn’t know were there. And so it seems that the Little Collage has some sort of parallel relationship to the Lattice painting that I made many years ago.
Maybe I’m crazy. But I feel as though they share some inner logic, as though they are versions of the same thing.
The view between the arching flower stems is what caught my attention, but afterwards I tried to put as much stuff of the chaos onto the page, knowing that parts of it would be out of proportion. I decided to tackle something that I figured would be impossible really to depict accurately, especially in the time I was allotting.
The dark light of an overcast spring day made the (ad)venture doable. So off and on I’ve been gazing at a jumble of things on the kitchen counter. (Remind me I need to clean that counter.) It would be an interesting motif to do at night too with the overhead yellow of interior light casting down on the objects in that way that Bonnard taught us to love.
I’d love to do the view from the arching flower stems again in the future. I’ll need more flowers. These have already surpassed their prime.
I only learned about Wenzel Hablik a couple weeks ago. His painting is on the cover of a book my daughter has been reading. Soon after I happened upon a video in French about an exhibit at the Musee d’Orsay called “Beyond the Stars. The Mystical Landscape from Monet to Kandinsky” and there was a curator standing in front of his painting, talking about it.
I had no idea it was so huge! My painting is pretty big too. Mine above, his below.
Indeed, he’s got something in common with a lot of things I have painted but I’d never heard of him until very recently. It’s always fun to discover things like this — things I love that I didn’t know I loved until now. More of mine below.
I didn’t think Frederick Remington was a real artist because he painted cowboy themes. I was that peculiarly annoying thing: an East Coast snob. But I was young. One must forgive the young for their annoying stances — especially when it’s your own young past self!
Anyway, I was at the Museum of American Art last weekend with an agenda: I wanted to make a drawing after Childe Hassam’s painting “Tanagra, The Builders” (which I posted recently). While I was there I also did a certain amount of wandering around and encountered this tour de force by Remington. It stopped me in my tracks.
In all humility I made a rapid sketch of the main horse, rapid because by that time I was supposed to meet some other people, and I only had a few minutes to spare.
I’m glad that I make these fast drawings these days. I used to feel intimidated and it cost me some wonderful opportunities. There’s nothing to lose and much to gain in simply drawing the world around you.
The Little Bouquet is little not because the flowers were small, but because the image is small. Scale in art offers an often uncelebrated emotional factor to an image. Small things affect us differently than large ones do. Small pictures sometimes convey a greater sense of intimacy that comes from the way that small things can be held in our hands, are seen in miniature, are made more jewel-like perhaps or more precious-seeming.
In this picture the smallness of things seemed to suggest a philosophical idea — that the small, though often over-looked thing, can be a receptacle and a source of great meaning. A simple vase of flowers reminds us of the ever flowing passage of time. The beauty of all transience can call us back to reverence for life, can remind us of our need to savor the present. These lovely flowers might have been connected to any of life’s celebrations as they sit in quietude upon a table gleaming in the light.
I saw it as a microcosm of time, a moment when Nature and humanity gathered together. The passage of all loved things was once like this, a glimmering moment of light and life.
Little Bouquet of Flowers is a pastel painting on textured paper measuring 11 1/2 x 10 1/4 inches.