Archive for September 20th, 2009

At the End of the Road

DSC_0042_01 smallIt’s the time of the year when the leaves are turning and dropping to the ground, leaving the bones of the tree exposed.  The deep green of summer is fading and being replaced by a stark grayness which changes the mood of every view.

I was thinking about that when I was nearing the end of this piece, one I’m tentatively calling At the End of the Road.  I had everything in place  except for the trees that I knew I wanted, to balance the weight of the composition.  I could easily imagine my typical red tree in place.  It would fit and the piece would have a certain brightness of tone, a dark optimism.

But placing only the bones of the trees changes everything for me.   It changes the mood of the piece as the starkness of the trees contrasts against the vivd colors in the sky, tempering it’s cheeriness with a grim reminder of time passing.  A sort of memento mori, letting us know that our time is fleeting.  This is reinforced by the relative emptiness of the landscape and the open mailbox in front of the windowless house, which is exaggerated in its proportions in a way that makes it seem less sturdy, less likely to stand the test of time.  There is a sense of abandonment of place, of desolation.

For me,  I think this piece, as much of my work is for me, is about the perception of memory.  How we see what is behind us, in what light the past remains in our minds.  It also acts as a reminder that the past cannot be reinhabited, no matter how we view it.  I’m not saying that this the reason that my houses seldom have windows or doors but that would be an interesting psychological viewpoint of that fact.  Perhaps the houses represent the past but have no doors or windows through which to enter.

I don’t know.

But I do know that this new piece, a 12″ tall by 24″ wide canvas, has a lot of things to ponder in very simple composition.  And I like that.

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