Archive for May 9th, 2012

I wrote the other day about the rhythm I’m looking for when I’m in the studio, that groove where the painting is more instinctual than intellectual.  Everything flowing fast and easy with little thought, each brushload of paint inspiring the next and on and on.  All intuition and reaction with hardly a thought given to subject or meaning.   It’s a great feeling, one that makes me feel as thought I am somehow connected to some sort of better self within, one that can only be reached by letting go of conscious thought.

A rare and delicate thing.

Delicate in the sense that I find myself at points coming out of this groove to examine what I’ve done and I lapse into conventional thought.  At these times I look at the work spread around the studio, in various stages of their journey to completion.  I forget for the moment how the work came about , about  the fact that the work is not about subject or the scene but about capturing emotion and feeling.  All I see is repetition of form, red trees and red roofs set on mounds and plains.

And for that moment, I panic just a bit.  The delicate thing seems almost crushed in that instant.

But then I focus on a painting and the fragility of  how it came about and what it really is doesn’t seem all that delicate after all.  Though there is often repetition of forms, I can see by looking at this individual painting that these elements are only part of the whole, that, while  they often serve as the central focus of the piece, their importance comes from how they play off the other less obvious elements of the painting to create the real feel of it.  People are not moved by the tree but by the sense of feeling that the tree evokes within the painting. 

It’s not subject but the emotion captured that makes each piece unique. 

And with that realization in hand, I feel free once again to go back into the rhythm, that rare and delicate thing.

The painting above is a new one that fits perfectly with this post.  It is a 10″ by 16″ painting on paper that I call Beeswing,  after a line from a Richard Thompson song of the same name that has as its chorus the line, ” she was a rare thing, fine as a bee’s wing…”  There  is a delicacy in this piece, a fineness of form that makes the moment of it seem forever fragile.  When I look at it all I can think of are those incredibly rare moments of absolute happiness, when the outer world is completely forgotten and there is a clarity of joy in myself.  A fleeting feeling, rare and delicate, fine as a bee’s wing.

Here’s the song from Richard Thompson—-


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