Monday, February 28, 2011

Other Work

Off and on I've given myself a break from the Szondi portraits and fooled around with other subjects. I see that it's hard to see the bottom's very small, around 3x4 inches. The top one is maybe 4x6, or a little bigger. This way of painting, or whatever you want to call it, is certainly giving me a lot of pleasure. I always did like value better than color.
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I think I'm done, but what a fun project.
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spring in the Living Room

I've had this potted orange tree for at least twenty years and it has never produced fruit until now. There are several marble-sized oranges appearing all over it. Go figure............
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My New Project

I don't know where I'm going with this, but I'm certainly enjoying making all these little portraits. Each one is about two inches square. I plan to combine them in some bigger work after I get sick of doing them individually. I'm waiting for some idea to crystallize from studying these faces and thinking about how I came to know them. When I was quite young, under ten, my father gave me the Zondi test for the first time. It consisted of looking at groups of around ten pictures and selecting which you liked the best and which you liked the least. I don't remember how many sets there were. The examiner then interpreted your choices in terms of personality traits. The photos are of mental patients, and Zondi, a psychiatrist, was testing his theory that mental illness had some type of genetic basis that caused people to respond in certain ways to the pictures. I can't remember the details, and considering how hard it was to find any information about the test, apparently it never gained much acceptance. My father was a psychologist and entertained us children with all kinds of tests. We were happy to be guinea pigs. I can still see Rorschach (I don't know how it's spelled) ink blots if I close my eyes........

I've thought about the people in theses pictures off and on over my life and finally decided to look them up. It's amazing that I recognize every one of the faces and remember looking at them laid out on the Formica table top in the kitchen of our house in the 50's. I can't remember which ones I liked or didn't like, but they are all familiar. As I draw them, I feel as if I am re-creating them somehow, adjusting them a little. Once I have examined every aspect of their faces, once I have come to understand every turn of their lip, every glint in their eye, every stray hair, every convoluted twist and turn of their ear....I find that I can't chose any of them to dislike. They've become my children.
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Monday, February 14, 2011

Three Paintings

These are all small works done on Yupo paper with water soluble oils.I guess that after putting so much "concept" into my last paintings, I wanted to relax and do some straight images. Every time I mix the paint, I get a different color, which gives them all a different look, but I love using values alone. Somehow color trivializes these little pictures.......or monochrome makes them seem more than they are. I'm not sure which it is, but the way light creates form is always the most interesting part of a painting for me, and color distracts from that. The technique is intriguing, too. Covering the paper entirely with a flat dark value and then picking out the light is fascinating. My brush is a Q-tip that simply wipes away the dark to reveal the subject.
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

My View

Here's what I see as I look out the window from my chair at the dining room window. As I was walking the dogs this morning, going down the hill to toward the water, I remembered what it was like when I first moved here thirteen years ago. The thought that edged its way into my consciousness was to feel nostalgic about the time when all this was new. Every day was a delight. I basked in the idea of living by the ocean. Everything about the town fascinated me......its smallness, its quaintness (as I perceived it then), it's lack of pretension. The sight of fishing boats at the breakwater was strange and wonderful, as well as the huge tankers that dominated Water St when they docked to unload their cargo. I didn't know many people and I enjoyed my solitude. I could always feel my own edges as I wandered around the streets. There was me, and then there was "everyone else," a vague presence I had little to do with. ing is Like being a tourist in an unfamiliar place, you carry yourself and nothing else.

As I started to regret that I had lost that newness and wonder, I realized that I really have not lost it. I still look at this place as an outsider. It is probably why I have had no desire to leave. I still don't know it very well. So far I have managed to stay ignorant of anything but it's surface. I've learned nothing to contradict my solitary view, nothing to tarnish that wonderful ignorance.
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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

More Snow

The top picture shows what greeted me as I opened the back door this morning. The bottom one is a closer look at the drift that goes down the middle of the dog yard. It's amazing what the wind does with snow, especially in tight spaces. I have to say this is the best one I've seen.

In the background you can see the snow pile behind my car........worse than the last one. The whole country is having record snowfall. Most places are paralyzed because they don't have the experience or equipment to handle this kind of weather. The paper is full of articles showing pictures of stranded vehicles, impassable roads, downed electrical poles, people in shelters, businesses closed. Here in Maine, as one writer put it, we call it "winter."
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