Thursday, December 10, 2009

Painting, December

Painting, December, is cold, though not impossible here in the valley. Not like Vermont I suppose. I bundle up, and take a blanket, and try to get back home to heat before it is totally dark. I actually like it, I like the light, and the cold, the crunching grass, and the sharpness of things. And the color, and shapes in winter- that's what it is really about. Three days in a row, with the sun just setting , I packed up gear and biked down to the river to see if I could capture something of the sun setting down among the black locusts and the grey yellow fields. Of course, it was cold, and I took Scotch whiskey, and it sort of ended up more like a shouting match and finger painting, but it felt to me like some sort of communication. Between what, I can't really say, between myself sitting there in the field, and the image of the field, and all that I had wrapped up in my mind about what that means, I suppose that's what was talking.

And so there are three swirly images, with dashes and daubs and scrapings, in an attempt to catch some of the mystery of the trees and bushes and grey blueness of the last light of the sky, two of which I show here, the third of which still sits out in the cold on our back porch, I can't even recall what it is.

My thinking is that somehow I can reach something through this sort of work, get to some sort of breakthrough where it is something that I feel like busts through being a tonalist, impressionist, derivative image, and is something about being alive now, not then, and not looking always back, but about what it means to be here now, on the river, in a field, with the sort of information that I have in my brain. A tough proposition, in a time where something like painting is like learning to ride a horse, not to useful in the real world.

These aren't about now, really. They are still about trying to catch up to now. "Now" isn't about some dusty old thing like painting, now is about the great world forces, the economy, the technology, the banality, the setting sun, or maybe the new day, I have no idea, I don't really feel a part of it. I suppose you'd have to be 20, or younger to know what it is. I see it, but I don't feel it. Which is the irony, that I want, sort of, to make these paintings pertinent, and not just a hobby, but some sort of voice, but I have no idea what to say, or what I want to say even. And so, it ends up about just making images, ploddding along, and maybe someday one clicks, or someone thinks, these mean something, and that would be success enough. Hasn't happened yet.

It isn't about prettiness, or capturing beauty, or sentiment, or nostalgia. Well, sort of all those I guess, but moreso, it is to me, I think, about darker forces, about what underlies all of the shades and shadows and dark lines, about the patterns, and the organization of vision, and the way light moves through it all. How can that be important? Maybe it isn't, but when I sit there, most of the time, though not all the time, if feels like what I was built to do, wired to do, however right or wrong the image turns out, I feel alive to it, more than anything else ever ever ever. The irony is always there, how there is never enough time, how I tire easily, how there are far more skillfull people than myself, how it seems pretty much like a lonesome road, and how I sort of like it that way, or at least start to come to accept that we are all on some sort of lonesome road.

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