What is more exciting. The action of painting a piece, or looking at it after it has been resolved into a finished work? I often wonder what artists think about this. I hope there will be some comments from artists in regard to this.
It was pretty exciting, seeing the work of hundreds of artists flashed on billboards in Times Square. I didn’t get to the city for this event, but published photos of the works were as thrilling as fireworks. I actually could not see my 4 acrylic paintings but realize they were there for the crowd to see, in this enormous collage of images.
As college student, I studied Renaissance Art and its non-conformist painters, the Mannerists. When I first viewed Parmigianino’s work, “Madonna with the Long Neck”, I found it so unsettling. It violated all the Renaissance compositions that reflected harmony and a sense of balance. The Madonna is extremely distorted and the baby on her lap is over-large, while the figure to her right is tiny. With the figures crammed in to her left, surely there is no symmetry. There is a leg coming out of nowhere, not seeming to be attached to anyone in particular. Pontormo’s “Descent from the Cross” uses the Renaissance colors (pink, blue, red) but the figures are in various positions that are detached and unrelated to the Christ on the Cross. Perhaps this is a truer version of the chaos around the Crucifixion than the harmonious balance depicted in earlier Renaissance works of the same subject. As an abstract artist, I studied them more carefully and developed a respect for these rebels. Distortion, unbalance, and disharmony can certainly be seen in the work of contemporary artists.
I bought the house I live in because it has an all weather porch with 7 windows near my easel. Artists are certainly concerned with the light and today is so rainy and grey (as it has been most of week) I probably will not paint. When the sun comes out tomorrow, the painting will certainly change. When you apply acrylic paint, it usually dries darker, so it’s a constant adjustment. I often mix paint on the canvas, rather than on the enamel palette. But of course, when you add another color or shape, you have to adjust the whole painting. If the shapes and colors don’t work, it’s like a discordant note in a symphony. But when they do, WOW……so thrilling.
Second day writing. This is a discipline really. It’s better than a ‘Dear Diary’ I believe. Although diaries were mostly private. I belong to a writing group and usually do sketches in the journal after I finish the exercise, while everyone is still writing. It becomes a word and image sort of thing. Back in the last decade, when I was teaching a class at Elms College, I introduced a class called “Word and Image” I had a group of nurses who had not made much art. So to provoke an image, I read a selection of poetry to them. This often produced great results in art-making. The medium they used was watercolor. So interesting to see how unique each work of art was. And how they interpreted whatever image or feeling was in the poem. I’m sure I’m not the first artist/teacher to do this. But this could work for any artist, no matter what stage they are in. So try it, and use whatever medium appeals to you, watercolor, collage, acrylic, drawing. Those are my thoughts on this rather humid, hot day in New England.
Here’s a collage that I used from a poem.
It was my honor to win Best of Show at the annual juried exhibition of Monson Arts Council. This new work, as pictured, was inspired by Charles DeMuth’s “I See the Figure Five in Gold” which came from the poet, Wm Carlos Williams poem about a fire engine. My painting is “I see the Figure 5 on Edge.”