Archive for May 21st, 2012

The object of painting a picture is not to make a picture– however unreasonable this may sound.  The picture, if a picture results, is a byproduct and may be useful, valuable, interesting as a sign of what has past.  The object, which is in back of every true work of art, is the attainment of a state of being, a more than ordinary moment of existence.

— Robert Henri

I love this passage that  Robert Henri wrote in his classic  book The Art Spirit, so much that I’ve taken the key phrase from it as the title for this new painting,  A More Than Ordinary Moment.  It is a tryptych on mounted paper  with the outside panel images measuring 10″ wide by 14″ high and the center 16″ by 14″.   It is set in a large frame with three separate windows that is about 24″ by 58″ in size, giving this piece a real sense of it  being, as its titles implies, more than ordinary.

This piece very much reflects the essence of what Henri was conveying in the passage, that art is not about capturing scenes or mere subjects but was instead about capturing a state of being, the  existential feeling behind the moment.  As I  have maintained for some time, my paintings are not about depicting the reality of the outer world.  They are more about capturing and mapping the emotions and sensations of our inner selves,  those rare things found all of us if we are willing to take the time to look.  They are internal landscapes.

I get a great sense of tranquility from this piece, a feeling that comes from the colors that somehow remind me of  the warmth of the crocheted afghans I knew as a kid with those sometime garish color combinations from the late 60’s and  early 70’s with olive greens, browns and  oranges.  When I think of those afghans, I don’t remember them for what they were as objects but for what they represented with those moments beneath them when I was warm and secure.  I didn’t see this in this painting until just now as I wrote this and now, looking at the painting, it is all I see.  I am instantly transported by it to those moments of supreme security as a kid, huddled under my mother’s afghan in my father’s house, carefree and safe from the world outside our doors.

It’s a feeling that I get less  as an adult and one that I need more often. 

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