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Posts Tagged ‘The Lorax’

I don’t want to get into the habit of revisiting past blogposts here, as I did the other day when I reposted a blog on the similarity between a painting of mine and the trees from Dr. Seuss’ Lorax.  But there is a painting that I wrote about back in March of 2009 called Endless Time that I really wanted to revisit today.  It’s a personal favorite and one that hangs in my studio, always giving me pause when I let my eyes rest upon it, as it did in the very early hours of this morning.   It has dwelt here for a couple of years now and remains special for me, always making me think. 

Or better yet, not think.

   There is something in it that is as definitive of all that  I desire from this world and of myself as anything I have ever painted.  It makes no overt appeal to the viewer, like nature, not giving a whit if you enter or not.   It has gifts to offer for those who make the effort to enter but there is no path inviting them in.  No beckoning tree or clusters of humble homes.  It simply is. 

Here is what I wrote back in March of 2009:

I wanted to talk a little about the piece shown here, Endless Time, which is a 24″ X 30″ canvas. This is what I consider a performance piecemeaning that I have performed several paintings that have a similar palette and composition in different sizes.

Each piece has its own character and feel, distinguished by differing color intensities and textures. The colors of each are similar but have their own peculiar colors due to the factors that make my color palette differ from day to day. Things like humidity and temperature, different gessoes that I use with differing absorption rates and my own lack of consistency in mixing color.

I call these performance pieces because I equate painting them to a musician performing their own composition. The musician may often change bits of their own compositions, changing things like tempo or intensity. Changing the coloration of the notes and how they’re played. The composition is intact and is identifiable but each individual performance has its own character, its own wealth.

You may notice something quite different in this piece as well.

No tree. No red tree. Nothing…

This is really a direct descendent from my earliest work that focused on open spaces and blocks of color, work that was meant to be spare and quiet. The weight of the piece is carried by the abstract qualities of the landscape and the intensity of the colors.

With this piece, I have chosen to forego the kinship that the red tree often fosters with the viewer, acting as a greeter inviting them to enter and feel comfortable within the picture plane. In Endless Time the viewer is left to their own devices when they enter the picture. There is no place to hide, no cover. They are exposed to the weight of the sky and the roll of the landscape. They are alone with not a sound nor distraction.

It becomes, at this point, a meditation. One is not merely looking at a landscape. To go into this painting one must be willing to look inside themselves as well.

And I think that is where the strength of this piece dwells. I hope this is evident to some viewers and they feel welcome to enter this quiet space…

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 With the recent release of The Lorax, an animated film based on the environmentally centered Dr. Seuss book and the continued popularity of his books (I think there are 6 in the top 100 of the NY Times bestsellers list), I thought I would reblog this post from back in August of 2010. 

Yesterday’s post about the 50th anniversary of Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss made me think about a piece that I’ve had hanging around my studio for the past decade. It’s a painting that I did in 2001 that I call Red, Hot and Blue. It’s an oil on panel piece that is pretty big, almost 5 1/2′ tall in its frame. It could be a small door. It showed in a few galleries after it was first painted and never found a home so it retired to my studio, to keep me company.

I mention it because it was been called the “Dr. Seuss painting” by several people who saw it when it was hanging in the galleries. They saw something in the way the trees were shaped and colored that gave them the appearance of a Seuss character. I had no thought of Seuss when I painted the piece but when I heard these comments I began to see it.

The expressive sway of the trees as though they were dancing. The bright primary colors- the red of the foliage and the bright blue of the trunk. Even the two trees in the background added to the Seuss-y feel.

The foliage actually looked like the endangered Truffala trees from Seuss’ cautionary fable about the environment, The Lorax.

It was not intended but it made sense. Seuss’ books were about communicating by giving strange creatures and things we often see as objects, such as trees and flowers, human qualities. His characters moved with a rhythm that made them feel alive. Just what I was trying to do with my painting. I’ve often felt that we best see and better understand things that possess human qualitities. I remember being taught that the Native American tribes in the area where I grew up gave names to local hills based on the human qualities they had. It made an impression and started me looking for the human form in all things.

The curve of a tree trunk. The roll of the land. The fingers of clouds in the sky.

To communicate.

So, while it was never intentional, this painting was very much a product of the influence of Dr. Seuss and others. When I look at it today, I don’t see the name I gave it. I see it as that “Dr. Seuss painting”.

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Yesterday’s post about the 50th  anniversary of Green Eggs and Ham  by Dr. Seuss made me think about a piece that I’ve had hanging around my studio for the past decade.  It’s a painting that I did in 2001 that I call Red, Hot and Blue.  It’s an oil on panel piece that is pretty big, almost 5 1/2′ tall in its frame.  It could be a small door.  It showed in a few galleries after it was first painted and never found a home so it retired to my studio, to keep me company.

I mention it  because it was been called the “Dr. Seuss painting”  by several people who saw it when it was hanging in the galleries.  They saw something in the way the trees were shaped and colored  that gave them the appearance of a Seuss character.  I had no thought of Seuss when I painted the piece but when I heard these comments I began to see it. 

The expressive sway of the trees as though they were dancing.  The bright primary colors- the red of the foliage and the bright blue of the trunk.  Even the two trees in the background added to the Seuss-y feel.

The foliage actually looked like the endangered Truffala trees from Seuss’ cautionary fable about the environment, The Lorax

It was not intended but it made sense.  Seuss’ books were about communicating by giving strange creatures and things we often see as objects, such as trees and flowers, human qualities.  His characters moved  with a rhythm that made them feel alive. Just what I was trying to do with my painting.  I’ve often  felt that we best see and better understand things that possess human qualitities.  I remember being taught that the Native American tribes in the area where I grew up gave names to local hills based on the human qualities they had.  It made an impression and started me looking for the human form in all things. 

The curve of a tree trunk. The roll of the land.  The fingers of clouds in the sky.

To communicate.

So, while it was never intentional, this painting was very much a product of the influence of Dr. Seuss and others.  When I look at it today, I don’t see the name I gave it.  I see it as that “Dr. Seuss painting”.

Read Full Post »

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