Archive for February 9th, 2009

60-MPH View

Above the BabbleThere are times when ideas for a piece come from seeing something once or twice and taking what you remember of it and using that in your work.

For example, a number of years ago I remember driving through the Poconos on the way to NYC.  As I drove down a hill, I glimpsed to my right a group of trees, maybe an orchard.  It was early morning and the sun was low behind them, casting long individual shadows in the damp, long grass.   The whole scene was taken in in the blink of an eye.

I call that the 60-MPH view.  Actually, it’s closer to 75 MPH but who’s really keeping track?

From this split-second glance I returned to the studio a few days later and took the elements of that scene that remained in memory and created several versions of that scene.  They were vibrant and alive.  It was as the speed of the glimpse took away interfering details and distilled the remaining elements into something stronger.

The painting above, Above the Babble, is another kind of this taking in quickly and using the elements from memory.  My sister had a small print that has hung for many years in her home.  I always would notice the print when I visited but didn’t spend much time in front of it.  One day in the studio the composition of that piece, as I remembered it, came to mind.  This was the result along with several subsequent versions over the years.  None of them really look like the print in any specific detail but for me they echo the rhythm and feel of the inspiring piece.

I try to use this viewing process  when I look at other artists’ works as well, taking in the work quickly then trying to remember what I saw.  This forces the strengths, as I see them, forward and they remain in my memory.  This allows me to find things in work that is very unlike mine that I ultimately use in my own work.  A form of synthesis, I suppose….

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