Saturday, June 8, 2013

Give It Life

When I paint, I still have that feeling of "I don't know what I'm doing." But as my friend, the watercolorist Eva Bender, pointed out to me recently, if I had it all figured out, I probably wouldn't want to do it anymore.  Since it's endlessly mysterious, it's endlessly alluring. 

I did one with wind in the trees where I feel like the the wind is there in the movement, and the cool feeling of the grey/violet day is there in the colors...

View Across Pond, Windy Trees

Maybe that's all I'm ever looking for?  I don't know.  I keep wondering:  Too realistic?  That is, boringly representational?  But I need to give that up:  my aesthetic, and my emotional connection to painting, is tied to representation (-alism).  But I'm always questioning how far to spool out.  Maybe the answer, or the organizing principle anyway, could be:  As far as possible, without making mishmash.  Though I like Joan Mitchell's mishmash.  But her work has less to do with moment/atmosphere/place than I want.  And as Robert Henri said, the idea is to do something no one else has done.

When I look at really wild and suggestive stuff, sometimes I want to go there.  Again, toward things that look like marks on a page, with an empty background.  But more, I want to get close to what Monet was doing—responding wildly, but with a passionate involvement in something, not in himself.  I keep thinking:  I want to "give life to" something, rather than impose myself on it.

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