LUNCHEON ON THE GRASS oil on canvas 10" x 10" 2014
This painting serves as a color and compositional study for a larger painting that I intend to undertake.
The inspiration for this painting will be taking its cues from Edouard Manet's painting by the same title
as well as pay homage to lush romanticized images such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir's, "Luncheon of the Boating Party".
I hope to borrow from these works, the essence of leisure and pleasure in nature, the warm play of light, a boldness with color, and for the depicted shapes within the painting to feel communal and engaged with each other as the figures do in these masterful paintings.
How does one translate the wonder and beauty of the natural world with plastic means? It is quite the challenge to produce a work of art that can stand next to what resides out our front door or the landscape through the window before our eyes. We can evoke or suggest with material means the life that teems around us in nature, but it is near impossible for the dazzling spectacle of the natural world to exist in a still image. I believe our hearts can be quickened by a work of art as it can be when we experience the world from a mountain top. But they are still two quite different visual pleasures and experiences. I have no real answers or assumptions as to how those two experiences could be similar or vastly different, but I do think the search for an answer is what drives artists to still contest with nature.
I think of Monet in his garden. Toiling to construct ideal beauty on his property as well as in his painting. He returned to the same subjects over and over again all the while, maintaining remarkable continuity in his work and achieving a complex array of compositions, light, color, and space.
I have begun to regard the teardrop in my work as a subject that could function no differently as Monet would have considered his waterlilies. The teardrop serves as a foundational object whereby concerns for light, color, and space can perform. The articulated landscape is a construction of my imagination-an imagined pond where my "lily pads" can exist. This space can only be visited through the confines of the painting and invokes a longing to be able to enter that space. It creates a desire that I feel exists when viewing one of Monet's paintings. The desire to be in his garden.
The teardrop shape first made its appearance in the paintings and drawings. I am now making attempts to utilize the drop shape in my sculpture-transforming the teardrop that is by nature an ephemeral/unattainable object. The tear or water drop cannot be had. It is born in one minute and gone in the next. We are unable to possess it, much less name it. The investigations in my sculptures are to depict the teardrop as a permanent and physically solid form caught in a suspended state of animation/action. I am striving for the sculpture to hold both a weighty presence and simultaneously feel delicate and "drop-like"
Before settling into prolonged painting sessions, I have been working materials onto fragments of paper that I consider to be drawings. There is usually collage elements that come into play that more often than not are used as a method to edit sections of the drawings and further activate the ground. Even though a good deal of paint is used in these drawings, the paint registers as having been used as a medium/tool for drawing. These exercise drawings explore play and invention with the material that allow for me to have play and be inventive in the paintings. They limber me up for an activity of spontaneity and unhindered explorations with paint.
*all drawings are oil paint, pencil, oil stick, ink, collage on newsprint.
By snails, by leaps of frog, I came here, spirit.
Tell me, body without skin, does a fish sweat?
I can't crawl back through those veins,
I ache for another choice.
The cliffs! The cliffs! They fling me back.
Eternity howls in the last crags,
The field is no longer simple:
It's a soul's crossing time.
The dead speak noise.
It's time you stood up and asked
-Or sat down and did.
A tongue without song
-Can still whistle in a jug.
You're blistered all over
-Who cares? The old owl?
When you find the wind
-Look for the white fire.
What a whelm of proverbs, Mr. Pinch!
Are the entrails clear, immaculate cabbage?
The last time I nearly whispered myself away.
I was far back, farther than anybody else.
On the jackpine plains I hunted the bird nobody knows;
Fishing, I caught myself behind the ears.
Alone, in a sleep-daze, I stared at billboards;
I was privy to oily fungus and the algae of standing waters;
Honored, on my return, by the ancient fellowship of rotten stems.
I was pure as a worm on a leaf; I cherished the mold's children.
Beetles sweetened my breath.
I slept like an insect.
I met a collector of string, a shepherd of slow forms.
My mission became the salvation of minnows.
I stretched like a board, almost a tree.
Even thread had a speech.
Later, I did and danced in the simple wood.
A mouse taught me how, I was a happy asker.
Quite-by-chance brought me many cookies.
I jumped in butter.
Hair had kisses.
Easy the life of the mouth. What a lust for ripeness!
All openings praise us, even oily holes.
The bulb unravels. Who's floating? Not me.
The eye perishes in the small vision.
What else has the vine loosened?
I hear a dead tongue halloo.
Sing, sing, you symbols! All simple creatures,
All small shapes, willow-shy,
In the obscure haze, sing!
A light song comes from the leaves.
A slow sigh says yes. And light sighs;
A low voice, summer-sad.
Is it you, cold father? Father,
For whom the minnows sang?
A house for wisdom; a field for revelation.
Speak to the stones, and the stars answer.
At first the visible obscures:
Go where light is.
This fat can't laugh.
Only my salt has a chance.
I'll seek my own meekness.
What grace I have is enough.
The lost have their own pace.
The stalks ask something else.
What the grave says,
The nest denies.
In their harsh thickets
The dead thrash.