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Posts Tagged ‘Leonardo Da Vinci’

I’ve got several things on my plate this morning so time is short. Thought I’d rerun the post below because it describes a bit the dark to light process I often use. I also liked this simple painting but, as I write below, I wasn’t sure about it at the time, wasn’t sure it would translate well to others. Time has passed and I still find myself liking this painting. Plus, it quickly found a new home so someone saw something similar in it. Give a look and have a great day.

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“A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.”   

-Leonardo Da Vinci

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I’ve been working on a number of pieces lately that start on a black base of paint, rising from the darkness as each subsequent layer adds more and more light. I still think of this additive process as being a form of sculpture, one that starts with a flat surface and builds out in contours that give it definition and texture. Each layer of paint is like adding clay to the supporting armature of the sculpture. It’s a process that is hard to pull away from when I immerse myself in it. There’s something about seeing the colors grow more and more vibrant on the surface that becomes mesmerizing. I guess that’s why I often refer to this work as obsessionism.

This small experiment, a 10″ by 12″ piece on paper, is in this vein. It’s one of those pieces that I’m just not sure about because I like it but I’m not sure if I like it for what it actually is or for the experience, the obsession of the moment in painting it.

Or because it is simply from my own hands, part of myself. Like a parent looking at something their child has done and wondering if they like it because it is truly good or simply because it was done by their child, their flesh and blood.

Sometimes I can finish a piece and it instantly stands apart and on its own, complete and independent. Ready to move on like a young person proclaiming their emancipation from their parents. Other times, there are pieces that cling closer to me, perhaps too attached to yet stand on their own, at least in my eyes. Because I am unsure, I become more protective of these pieces because they do feel more personal, more of me.

It’s a hard thing to describe, this uncertainty in a piece, especially when it feels objectively right. Can a parent ever fully take out their own subjective view of their offspring and see them objectively as they really are?

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A number of years back, I saw an exhibit at a NYC gallery that consisted of many, many versions of The Last Supper by Leoanrdo Da Vinci, all painted by painters of differing skill levels and styles.  Some were well executed, professional, and some were crude and amateurish.  But they all, especially in the context of the exhibit, had a vibrancy that came from the original composition.  It was a very interesting show and I carry strong memories of some of those versions of DaVinci’s masterpiece.

I was reminded of this when I came across this version of the rock classic Whole Lotta Love from Led Zeppelin.  It’s from the San Francisco based band The Waybacks (featuring guest vocalist John Cowan from New Grass  Revival) and is from a performance at Merlefest in 2008.  Merlefest is an annual festival of  folk and Americana music that takes place in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.  It was started by the great Doc Watson in 1988 to honor his son and guitar playing stage partner, Merle, who had died a few years earlier in a tractor accident. 

I thought of The Last Supper show from this because it’s often interesting to see how a composition works in different genres and styles. This version from The Waybacks is based on acoustic instruments but  still maintains the  potency of the original, while forming a slightly difefrent feel and translation.  I’ve talked about this in this post before when I painted a series of gray and black pieces based on my typical landscapes.  They were the same but had a different  feel with the differing treatment.

That’s how this feels– the same but different.

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Simplicity

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

—-Leonardo Da Vinci

I guess that about sums up our lesson for the day.  Enough said.

Enjoy the day….

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