A curious, possibly mystical presence grew out of the shadows as I was painting. A glowing figure overlooks the forest pool – a naiad? What do you think?
This painting was built up with many layers of acrylic paint often scraping and scratching down to previous layers while the newest layer was still wet… I did this one in June and I remember that crayons were also involved – which you can still see traces of if you look closely.
This is the next in my abstract explorations. There is play with depth and texture as well as colour (of course). It makes me think of a hot end-of-summer day …but it’s cool in the woods.
Tom’s poem takes a different and perhaps darker path with references to: [Proverbs, 4:16-17 “For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.”
When in the middle of my life I found myself within a darkened wood though lit by faerie lights that floated up and over trees mysterious. Their shapes were strange and unfamiliar, hung with vines that grow the grapes from whence a famous vintage will be pressed yclept the wine of violence in the Book. I do not taste them as I softly pass along the shadowed paths that wend their way between the gnarled trunks. I do not eat, nor drink from rills that run between the roots as deeper down I go. The woods are silent, dark, and deep… You know the rest, I think, but I pass by, upon the other side.
I have been continuing experimentation with abstracts both in acrylics and oils. Because acrylics dry so quickly, I can build up many, many layers in a shorter time than oils. As a result, I tend to keep going for even more layers building up, scraping away, and making decisions about what stays and what gets painted over. It’s an evolution over two or more weeks for these. So different from my alla prima oils! Anyway, this one started off very different but ended up with (for me) an under the sea feeling. Others will no doubt see other things.
Tom’s poetic take on it is similar but goes back …well, to the beginning.
Bubbles burning up the fecund deep,
champagne reef a-swirl with venting gas,
primordial and proto quickly meet:
proto-cell and protoplasm fast
entangled in the ancient ocean depths
where chemistry and magic both combined
into something new, a broom that swept
the world with pulsing, growing, greasy slime
whose cells are now ancestral to us all,
whose origins are lost in bubbly chaos,
whose evolution made it great and small,
whose imperfections still come back to slay us.
We all began in beauty, vibrant, dark…
Partaking of that lost and vital spark.
This painting was built up in many layers working daily over about two weeks. It looks nothing like its early iterations transforming quite radically from what I thought I was painting at first. The title comes from the subtle figure in the middle of the painting which I didn’t even see until I had decided the painting was finished. I have never painted anything like this before – it was fascinating to see it emerge.
Tom wrote a poem for this piece that transcends and enriches the painting. Thank you.
I am the whisper that you do not hear
I am a ripple through the summer leaves
Too close to see because I’m standing near
Too far to touch my simple floral sleeve
Now come with me upon a journey outward
Now come with me to where you’ve never been
Soft breezes quiver as you look to windward
Soft breezes waft a scent that is not seen
I’m all around you walking on the surface
I’m all there is and all there’ll ever be
There is no way to show you my true purpose
There is no way for you to not be free
I am the voice of thunder and of flame
I am the sacred utterance of my name
Tom says references for this poem include: a gnostic poem called “Thunder, Perfect Mind”, “The Waste Land” (what the thunder said, o you who look to windward…), and Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, image of touching the sleeve of a ghost to go on a journey.
I have been playing more with acrylics lately than I have for a long time. Feeling experimental! This peonies in a vase composition was painted from my imagination using lots of layering, mark-making and impasto – another piece that felt very freeing.
Tom’s haiku is a perfect accompaniment!
cut blossom glass vase
petals falling in the sun
lazy summer morn
I did this painting recently during a figure painting class. Mostly we worked with nudes but this pose was with a costumed flamenco dancer. Here’s a link to a painting by the teacher, Charles Vinh, which was up in the gallery when we were taking the class… It was good to get instruction on painting on canvas – mostly I’ve worked on paper before… or on the computer, of course!
I recently went to an exhibition of fauvist art. Actually, all of the art was from one extraordinary artist Kees Van Dongen. (These links are to wikipedia and I’m sure you’ll find lots more images if you just google him.) The colours are rich, intense, startling even today – mesmerizing.
Since I’m getting back to – shall we call it analog painting? or physical painting? anyway, I was thinking of that fauvist art as I experimented with this small (6″x6″) acrylic on canvas piece.