I had to fetch some clouds to decorate the room of clouds. I sought them from the sky.
I climbed the hill and pulled them down.
I took clouds from the pond’s reflection before the fish could come and swallow them.
Before the fish could swallow them, I would steal my clouds away. Thus I gather clouds to decorate a wool gathering room.
In the room of clouds I’ll dream. In a room of white cotton gauze, in a room of soft reflected light, where white on white reveals the floating thought, I muse.
From a pond of reflection I’ll fish for memories. In a room that’s like a bright white page
empty and spacious and bright, I’ll live.
I started with the red. Because — red! Just putting the paint down straight from the tube, I enjoy seeing it so beautiful, luminous. This is why I love painting — because color transmits wonder just in itself, even before you do anything.
I’m making a painted version of the pastel still life with flowers, the one with the red cloth. It’s one of my favorites from among the group of pastel still lifes that I did in the fall. I’m thinking that I may do painted versions of my three favorites. Time will tell. Certainly I had to paint the ruby red one.
Different times of day, different angle, but it’s the same window. In both cases I made a fast drawing. I figured, “Why not?”
One is early morning (left) and the other is at twilight. The curtain on the right is only barely visible in the morning version.
I have loved Richard Diebenkorn’s work since whenever it was (a long time ago) that I first saw it. Without knowing anything about him, just seeing one of his pictures on the cover of a magazine, I fell in love. His ideas have affected me since.
Here in the drawing from one of his little notebooks (above left) and the detail of my painting Distant Oak (below), I think the affinity shows. I never met Mr. Diebenkorn (who was the same age as my mother). But I still think of him as being one of my teachers.
I was so taken with a picture by Frederick Remington, great cowboy painter, that I saw recently in the museum. I was wondering how he managed to capture the horses’ movements. It got me wondering how much of a role memory played in his understanding of equine motion.
The animals I have around me, that I see daily, whose forms I know best, are our dogs Lucy and Zoomie. Zoomie as his name suggests is a creature of motion. Being a terrier, he loves defying gravity. He is often found aloft — if only for brief bursts of time.
When he jumps up, what I principally see are teeth and piercing glances. The teeth rise up from the floor with dog attached. So I tried to remember a bit of it. A far cry from Remington’s masterful portrayal of horses, but a start toward understanding the teeth that fly.
A place, a quiet land. If you go there, you find resonating silence. I imagine being poised for something.
The morning begins. Or perhaps the day ends? Can you tell the sunrise from the sunset at that horizon moment? Or is some context necessary. Do we know the meaning only relative to our own internal clocks? To our awakening or our soon arriving sleep? Or is there some absolute physics of aspects that defines beginnings relative to endings?
A small study of thick paint and bright arbitrary colors seeks to ponder these weighty entropic questions in its small colorful way.
Totally different pictures, motifs — indoors and outdoors — but the same arching canopy on the left.
Who knows what one’s brain is up to? I say, just let your brain do its thing.
A complex ensemble of varied objects sits on a table decorated by a large bouquet. The table cloth is brilliant red. The flowers are of many types: lilies, daisies, carnations, roses. A couple of winter gourds, a queen conch seashell, and a blue pedestal glass filled with smaller seashells sits beside the flowers. Behind them a cloth of pale blues and silver adds a sky-like element. And off to the far right a deep red-orange cloth peeks out framed by some hanging purple flowers from a vase sitting outside the picture frame.
The complexity of a scene like this one gives the artist many sources of intrigue. I love exploring the shapes of many things when they are bunched altogether. It’s a passion that hopefully transfers to the spectator. In any scene of things, many wonderful visual features are always present. One of the aims of visual art is to provoke us to look more deeply into the appearances of the world. Every corner of the universe is filled with splendor. And splendor can begin with the simple contemplation of even a color. A brilliant red is a powerful sensation in its own right. And the shapes of things, the colors of many things, the lines that the mind describes around things are all sources of the most powerful fascination.
The Red Cloth and the Big Bouquet of Flowers is a pastel painting on sanded paper measuring 18 x 24 inches.
Often before I begin painting I will draw the motif, and sometimes I draw it with freedom and total abandon as in the drawing above. I love the scribbly effect available when drawing with crayons and oil pastel. And something of this quality I sought to incorporate into the final painting — because Nature has a lot of texture in her outdoors.
When the colors are beautiful simply as colors, when it’s a silky blue and a pale green the color of early spring, I find that I like looking at the colors for themselves alone. They are their own raison d’être. Big expanses of pure color gives the artist delight, something that you hope to share with the spectator. The lines and forms of the objects build upon that foundation. I wanted the vase of flowers to rise upwards like a bold tree, a symbol of life.
I make lots of studies for pictures. This one rehearses the motif for a large painting. This crayon drawing (made with Caran d’Ache Neocolors) measures 24 x 36 inches. (The related painting measures 30 x 48 inches.)