Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Painting an Effect Instead of a Scene

Saturday was the first class of a new painting. It is a totally different process from the previous painting as this painting is very simple and low on details. This makes it hard to lose focus on the overall painting because you are in the process of working the whole painting at once and all the processes support the overall effect. The previous waterfall painting was all about detail and technique and it was easy to get lost in the details-teach a technique and an idea of how to quickly render an area and let the student take over the process.

This painting, because of its lack of detail and the subtlety of its effect demands light overlays of color, not a whole lot of paint piling up and an intricate weaving of light and hue to capture the focus of light, movement and hue. The main point of painting water is that you are not painting water-you are painting the sky, the landscape or anything that interacts with the water but the water because of its colorless characteristics can not be captured only by the movement and color of objects reacting with it.

Another problem with painting water and a simple image of a leaf on water is how do you explain the fact that their is water and that the leaf is not just plastered on a wall flat like it is envisioned. The  image needs visual cues to explain to the viewer what they are seeing, visual cues that are assumed and felt because of the fact that we know by watching water that the leaf is on water and we hear the water and know that the leaf is on water. In a painting there are no sensual cues to explain there is water so unless you can explain to the viewer how the leaf rests on water and that there is depth before and behind the leaf the image is a flat leaf on a two dimensional plain.

We have to notice changes in detail, contrast and color, without the changes the eye has no concept of what it is seeing and the photograph from which the rendering came from has successfully captured a three dimensional image and rendered it as a flat, evenly contrasting image. As artists we need to exaggerate certain aspects of the image and clarify what the viewer is seeing.

So how hard is this to teach? For me it is even more like trying to explain the color you see on a regular basis to someone who has never seen color but even harder than that is without certain words like warm or cold. I would move paint around as I was constructing the original painting and as it worked or didn't work I would adjust and refine my rendering of the painting depending on the process. In teaching you have to reach and move paint without being able to rely on the idea that this is an experiment, there needs to be clarity with a student and you need to show the way when your way at times seems somewhat cryptic.

We moved paint around the leaf and continued to refine the image-If I say refine to her one more time she's going to shoot me, but just as in the other more detailed painting the process begins with refining where light is, where the leaf falls in your plane of vision and how the contrast and color changes throughout the painting. As the textures and the colors form and push each other into the position on the plane the image will create itself almost like a puzzle that becomes only with the relation to its parts and how each appear. So just like not painting water, we are painting the way the sky looks and how the leaf looks and in the end we will have how the water was affected by the leaf and the sky.

I will continue to comment on the steps to getting there and have a final video of the class in the end when the final puzzle creates itself. Thanks for reading and stay tuned.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Places to Paint and the Places Painted from

I try not to be too abstract about art and the intricacies of inspiration and creativity but there are many intangibles that are hard to explain. I am a landscape painter-I paint places but the place from which I paint tends to be varied depending on mood and circumstance. The word place could better be described as tense as in writing or maybe even atmosphere. I  paint from states of being either extremely happy and feeling content or being somewhat dark and pensive. There definitely seems to be a need for extreme of mood when I paint because I rarely intend on painting a pretty landscape I more want the viewer to feel
cold or lonely, or the excitement of light and vibrancy of color so the landscape becomes a secondary backdrop to a state of being.

The most uncanny of this is in the past having painted a landscape which for all purposes was a simple landscape but having music in the background while painting caused the painting to have a somewhat dark uncomfortable  feeling-the music in the background was Hunters and Collectors-Scream and it touched on a darker more uncomfortable place in my mind and that's what came out through the painting.

I am impressed with mystery and darkness. I think depression probably has also lent itself to the darkness in my paintings-I just sometimes don't feel comfortable in my own skin and I often think that comes out in the painting. I want the viewer to walk down a road in the evening and feel that tension of fear but the enjoyment at the same time of that fear and uneasiness and that is probably why people like haunted houses-the fear takes them safely out of their comfort zone.

My writing is actually more dark and tends to be more of an open door for the uneasiness because it is unattached to a specific image which at times might be completely contradictory to the scope and ideas I convey. I like a landscape that you can enjoy the beauty and natural feeling while at the same time feeling that there was  a bit of tension and you don't feel completely comfortable being there. I think one painter that has captured the idea that I express is Edward Hopper-his paintings are about dark places in city streets or in bars and there is a tension I just love.

I've included a pastel that is probably a bit more over the top than intended as far as the mood but the name is Halloween. It's a perfect example-a wonderful family time out with the community and yet the underlying idea that there are goblins in the trees and ghosts abound. I've always loved that feeling and that's what I tend to paint.

The second pastel is of blackbirds which is a recurring theme in my writing. The last image is of sunflowers-I thought it was a bit alarming of that one light in the evening on a silent house-begs the question who is staring out the window?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

At the Cremation

At the Cremation
Smoke filled the air
Joy and sadness mingled with dust
Twisting writhing spirits in the sky
Dreaming of the day we touched the ground
All the love and time that streamed across the plane
And wound down
The pyre floating in the sea
We watched for remnants
Of what used to be
All of our memories
Written across the sky
How could we be happy
But we needed to be
As this is what was meant to be
Time is just a measure
It’s the words that create the page
The chapter ends
Another begins
Eyes staring out across a horizon
Of light
All clouds unobscurred the path
A smile and a conversation had
As tomorrow might not be so sad
The journey begins today
Discarding the weight of the body
That reaches the sky
That touches us with rings of smoke
And all the loved ones wave goodbye
The portrait measures its final stroke
And we remember all the words,
Written or spoke
How will they see us tomorrow
When we’re on our way
What will they say another day
When the wound is somewhat healed
Only a glimpse of the pain
For the soul that’s gone away
We wait here on the shores
And will follow
One day soon
To rise among the embers
Of our lives
and forever shine anew.

At the Burial

At the burial
The long drive and the street is dark
The sky is a backdrop
Of rain
But you won’t feel a drop
Not the moisture
In the grass
Not the salt on your cheek
Only the chore
Of preparation
Only the position
And the box and the place and time
Wills to attest
And papers to sign
Down the long green mile
Of grass so green
Its sickening
I watched blackbirds
Filling in the blanks of the sky
Forming forests and trees
In peripheral eyes
The cold grey day
The green felt gives way
To a hole that no one can ever fill
Only with earth that will cover our cries
Forever stain our frightened minds
Fill the depression
That nothing will……

At the Wedding

At the Wedding

All of the moments before
Were a preparation for this promise
And I promise
The weight we carry together
Will always be more barable
You take my words
As they bind us
You listen as Gods breath instills
A key between us
That keeps our wills
I have no desire to capture
Nor cage
Though will it be my detriment
That you are yourself
Separate from me
And the two of us
Will always be
We will have rules that neither will ever voice
But we will know them
We will have boundaries
Neither will test
They will mean everything
And trust is the block we’ll forge
A structure
With all its cracks and remnants of the past
That will stand as a testament
To a promise
For as long as we last.

At the Birth

At the birth-

The light broke through clouds
A crack in the gray and pale white
She in
Her final bout
All her weight carried
Her voice loud
The steam erupting to the cool autumn air
The silence is deafening
The pause
And the moments becoming
Memories crawling off of walls
And into albums
I remember the hospital white
The bed
The room
The simplicity of timing
The impatient nurse
And the tv fading into the silence
As the room spun around
The doctor in all his formality
And every moment before and after
The one great divine moment
Of creation
And God shows his window
One small glimpse of this perfect soul
Captured just before
The world robs its eyes
And slowly steals
What was only for a moment
Hers and mine……

The Media Teacher

The Media Teacher

I’m so glad to have the media
To teach us about the world
To teach us how to talk with our children
To show me that most things can be unsafe
To show me how to use common sense
To instruct me how to eat
And what to eat
And how to feed my child
And what my favorite celebrity eats
And what insignificant thing they said
That I need to hear
And what product will kill me
And what I should be afraid of
And what I shouldn’t fear
How I should feel
What’s fake, what’s real
To distract me from the government
With their fingers in my life
Teaching me what’s wrong and right
Showing me how to decide
Keeping everything bright for the side they choose
Teaching me which politician needs to win
And lose
Showing me what the weather is like
Every moment, every day, every night
but don’t look at the electorate
they’ll decide
keep my eyes
on kims new dress
or her marriage failed
tell me rumors about celebrities
show me how to watch sports
and who’s guilty and who’s not
the story, the most important aspect
trumping true or false
courtrooms on tv
mesmorize me
so I don’t notice the real
I don’t know what’s false, or what to feel
They keep me tuned to tv
On the radio
On the web
Show me how to analyze sports
And how to understand celebrity
And how all my heroes fall
And most people are bad
And most things that happened aren’t good
What is sensationalism
What is a theatrical event
Rats in a maize we are
Listening to them feeding us
Spoons of words that mislead
As we follow
The news
But no one teaches propaganda
versus truth…….