I wrote last week about this being the time of year when I examine where I am at the year’s end on my artistic path. In order to somehow chart a course forward, I look back at the work of this past year, trying to see what changes have taken place, to see what new paths were followed and where they might take me in the near future. I am at the same time looking to see what paths presented themselves and were passed by and never revisited.
I also go back through the years and look at pieces that also offered these different directions. I examine them to see where I might have taken the work further if I had continued the creative thread I was following at that time. Were these opportunities missed? Would I want to go back to that juncture in my journey and set off now in that direction?
The piece shown here, Lakedays, a 16″ by 20″ canvas. is such a painting. From 2003, it was painted with a bluefor the underpainting instead of the red oxide that I normally use. The red gives me a warmth from below the surface that connects the whole piece in harmony. Using the blue– a manganese blue, if I’m not mistaken– gave this piece a different feel, one that was cooler and cleaner. It has distance, making me feel removed from the scene. Using the red shortens that distance, pulls me closer.
That sounds like a criticism of the effect here but it’s not. The coolness, the remoteness of the distance provided by the blue in this piece, works very well here. It provides the sense of the airiness one feels when looking over lakes, that feeling of a cool dome of air that encompasses the space. But despite the cooler temperatures of the blue underneath, there is still a golden warmth and intimacy in the space between the tree and the building, providing a contrast that gives this simple scene a dramatic tension and a sense of the ethereal moment.
I like it very much and think it is a very strong piece. But is it a path to revisit? Or should this remain an anomaly in the continuum of my body of work? That’s the type of questions I ask myself at this time of year. The answers shall be seen in the coming year…