Monday, September 30, 2013

Rocky Morning and Monet's Plein Air Pain

A 9x12 oil on mdf panel of the Ogunquit coast.

In the Monet catalog cited earlier, Richard Thomson writes about Monet's visit to the Creuse area in 1889, "Reviewing his many canvases after four weeks' work, Monet was shocked to see how sombre they were... But this gloomy character was in part the result of the seasonal rainy weather, which made continuous work impossible... Monet was evidently beginning consciously to think of his paintings forming series, though as yet his understanding seems only to have been of a group of the same motif with varied effets, not a harmonised ensemble to be exhibited together.  The variety was the result of both light and weather conditions shifting and so requiring another canvas--on a single day, 11 May, Monet worked on no less than eleven canvases--but also seasonal change.  As he wrote to Alice on 24 April, if bad weather prevented work on a canvas for a few days, on going back to it he would find the foliage had notably advanced.  In early May Monet was even forced to pay two local labourers to defoliate the oak at the confluence in an attempt to perpetuate a passing motif."

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Coast and a Tree and an Excerpt from Wallace Stevens

The 9x12 oil painting on mdf panel is part of a continuing series of seacoast images.  This one depicts a spot on Monhegan Island, where I was five years ago.  The pencil drawing of a tree on the Delaware and Raritan Canal located two minutes from my home was done this afternoon.

As I try to lower the pile of NY Review of Books, I came across an article by Dan Chiasson on the John Serio edition of Wallace Stevens Selected Poems.  He quotes the following from "Description Without Place":

Description is revelation.  It is not
The thing described, nor false

It is an artificial thing that exists,
In its own seeming, plainly

Yet not too closely the double of
  our lives,
Intenser than any actual life could

It struck me that these words might describe a landscape painting.  A painting is not what it depicts, but it is not false for that, but, though a painting allows one to reflect and imagine, could it be more intense than what it depicts?  Maybe in the sense that it might be easier to revisit the image than the actual place.  The image can also have more emotional meaning captured by the artist.

Sea, Rock and Monet

A 9x12 pastel and charcoal drawing.

From the catalogue, Monet: 1840-1926, a quote from the essay Seascapes in Normandy by Anne Roquebert: "His connection with nature was not conventional, as he shows reality through a process of analogical reference, appropriating a universal style."  Interesting way of saying that Monet had generalized and unfussy way of painting.

Monday, September 23, 2013

On the Edge

An 8x10 pastel of the rocky seacoast.  A seacoast is a beginning and an end, yes?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Al and His Pal

Here are two 9x12 pastel and charcoal drawings of alpacas at the Sweetbrook Farm, part of a larger project I am working on.  They've been shorn, so are a little thin below the face.  They have interesting personalities.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

More Shore and Cezanne

A 9x12 pastel and charcoal drawing.

Just completed reading Cezanne and the End of Impressionism by Richard Shiff.  It contains an intriguing line somewhere in the middle: "One is confronted with the possibility that all art is actively made; and impressionism's appearance is not the result of receptive innocence, but active deception."  Deception here means that the artist really does know what he is doing, but paints as if he might not.   Shiff calls this the "technique of originality".  I can't quote the whole book, but Shiff explains why Cezanne is a master impressionist.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Back to the Water

Two 8x10 pastels of the Ogunquit coast.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sweetbrook Farm and Deep Van Gogh

A 14x18 oil painting of the Sweetbrook Farm.

I'm trying to catch up on my reading.  The following is from the March 24, 2010 NY Review of Books (yeah, I know...), a review of Van Gogh's letters by Richard Dorment:  "...when you look at his pictures you sense the depth of experience and the breadth of culture behind them.  Lesser artists like Maurice de Vlaminck or Andre Derain imitated Van Gogh's bright colors, thick paint, and expressive brushwork, but all they achieved in their work was surface excitement.  Their art had none of the moral weight and psychological density that in Van Gogh's came from living among the poor, taking the gospels to heart, poring over the works of Shakespeare and many other writers, and studying the history of art."

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Poignancy of Impermanence

9x12 pastel and charcoal drawing.

A friend told me this morning, after he examined my pictures on line, that he coined the phrase "the poignancy of impermanence" to describe his experience.   He told me that in his former life he drove a cab in Brooklyn, and when stopped, saw and now remembers the things that I paint.  Very gratifying.

Impermanence is the area within which I work.

And later this morning a neighbor, who looks at my blog frequently, told me that she has become re-inspired to visit Maine.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sea Outlet

A 9x12 oil of the inlet at Ogunquit.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Encompassing Earth

A 9x12 pastel and charcoal drawing with a quote from David Abram's great book, The Spell of the Sensuous:

"It would seem...that the conceptual separation of time and space--the literate distinction between a linear, progressive time and a homogeneous, featureless space--functions to eclipse the enveloping earth from human awareness.  As long as we structure our lives according to assumed parameters of a static space and a rectilinear time, we will be able to ignore, or overlook, our thorough dependence upon the earth around us.  Only when space and time are reconciled into a single, unified field of phenomena does the encompassing earth become evident, once again, in all its power and its depth, as the very ground and horizon of all our knowing."

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Coast Line

This time a 9x12 oil of the coast line.  The water moves one way, the coast another, and the rocks don't move at all.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sea Coast

Today I am starting a new series of sea coasts, actually mainly one varied sea coast, in Ogunquit, Maine.  I need to give the canals a rest.  The above is a 9x12 pastel drawing.