Painting #44

My painting #44:

#44 June 2016 (Oil on Canvas on Panel, Approx 30 x 30 cm)
#44 June 2016 (Oil on Canvas on Panel, Approx 30 x 30 cm)

This painting was painted over the second of my two works in progress shown in this post. I actually liked that underpainting but I had taken a few days off painting and when I faced it again could not find a good reason to complete it. So one day after a failed painting session I painted over it using the paint left over on my palette.

Normally I would not use such a grey-yellow tone, but as I covered the underlying painting this moonlit landscape stepped out of the canvas and I thought I would leave it for a few days. It is unlikely to survive the next panel preparation session, but just to be honest I think I should number and put it into my catalogue.

It was full moon a few days ago, I got up early to meditate and caught the full moon just as it set on the Hakarimata mountains. Breathtaking. A poem featuring the moon was not hard to find:

Anglais Mort a Florence

A little less returned for him each spring.
Music began to fail him. Brahms, although
His dark familiar, often walked apart.

His spirit grew uncertain of delight,
Certain of its uncertainty, in which
That dark companion left him unconsoled

For a self returning mostly memory.
Only last year he said that the naked moon
Was not the moon he used to see, to feel

(In the pale coherences of moon and mood
When he was young), naked and alien,
More leanly shining from a lankier sky.

Its ruddy pallor had grown cadaverous.
He used his reason, exercised his will,
Turning in time to Brahms as alternate

In speech. He was that music and himself.
They were particles of order, a single majesty:
But he remembered the time when he stood alone.

He stood at last by God’s help and the police;
But he remembered the time when he stood alone.
He yielded himself to that single majesty;

But he remembered the time when he stood alone,
When to be and delight to be seemed to be one,
Before the colors deepened and grew small.

Wallace Stevens, featured in Six American Poets, this version from The Writing Spectrum

A hard time behind me the past week, fatigue keeping me asleep in the day and back pain keeping me awake at night. I am clawing myself back to a routine. I remain thankful in small ways in many moments of the day.

25 thoughts on “Painting #44

  1. That is definitely a fruitful dark painting. The colors, the subject, the style…as usual I like it. The sky is especially nice in this one with that hint of light. Also like the super dark trees.

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      1. Hi DawnMarie, many thanks for your comments! I put down that very dark first and it stuck there. If I keep this painting, I think I will just soften some of the edges a little around the tree base, it pulls the eye a bit too much for my liking. I agree with you – the shadows almost are the best feature of the little painting?

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      2. I think that tight edge you are talking about gives it some interest and draws your eyes to the shadows, but not in a bad way. I have looked back at it a few times to see if it is taking my eyes to the wrong place and I don’t think it is…my eyes still go throughout the painting and they don’t focus on that edge.

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  2. Good to have Wallace Stevens to help you think about the moon (and other things, but the moon particularly because it’s depicted here). I’m thinking about the picture that came before and wondering if the cup is still there, hidden in the moonlight, below the trees, somewhere near where the trees meet the ground … There’s connections between these different scenes (though they may not be easily deciphered). It’s interesting to observe the sequence. They’re like paragraphs in a poem.

    Hope that your fatigue and back ache ease up.

    The moon was full here last night and the night prior. My daughter and I took a long walk for exercise and conversation last night in downtown Washington DC amid the huge federal buildings mostly dark. The moon peeked through branches of enormous trees and in the spaces between buildings at different junctures of our exercise. Was a walk of enchanting scenes followed by other enchanting scenes in the cool of early nighttime. And you’ve captured that same sense of enchantment in your picture.

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    1. Many thanks Aletha. Yes, I was laid very melancholic by your comment about where that cup is now. It is a very poetic question. I am sure that things we create in thought and deed go out and influence the world for good or bad, and who can know the labyrinthine ways of the unconscious when creating something.

      I am very surprised by the positive responses to this painting – almost feel a bit embarrassed because it was so unplanned and done just in a rhythmic way, responding to the unfolding image as it progressed. Maybe if we can learn to let go in that way “we” will get to make our best art?

      Many thanks again for your kind comments and encouragement.

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  3. In harmony with the others commenting, I think you should keep this painting. It’s a very successful picture. Things are balanced well. The mood is wonderful. The space is evocative but clear. Its moonlight seems so convincing and real. Whether it was planned, unplanned, subliminal — whatever it was in the process — the picture as a picture is too lovely not to let stand. Sometimes you just have to trust.

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  4. For some reason I never saw this post in the feed. After your visit to my blog, I came on over to check, sure enough, I never did see it. Well, I am happy that I did because this is such a beautiful painting, one that gives me chills (in a good way). I don’t think that you value your own painting enough, truly I understand because I struggle with accepting my own paintings and my style. In a way I have found when I reject my painting I am rejecting me…..not being happy with a painting, I think it goes deeper, that I am not happy with myself. Learning to appreciate and see the beauty and longing (I see longing in your paintings) you will come to realization that you have a lot of offer in your art. I receive so much when I look at them, they truly have something to say. I don’t get the full story perhaps because of that longing….I get snippets but boy those snippets have a punch that goes to deep. Embrace your art and yourself, believe me there is a gold mine within yourself, just listen. 🙂

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    1. Thanks SO much Margaret for your very kind and thoughtful comment. I agree with all you are saying – I found that just in a day I could come to like a painting I previously rejected, simply because my outlook on things changed.
      I have to say, when I mention in a post that I will not keep a painting, it is not always that I want to throw it away in disgust! My problem is that I have no market for selling my paintings (not enough time or confidence to build one!), so everything I paint keep standing around in my studio. After some time it piles up and I feel a bit depressed about it. So I tend to keep only the ones that I really, really like, and the rest I recycle by painting over it.
      You are very right also about a longing – I mention this on my “About” page, there is this recurring sadness about the beauty, transience and fragility of life. “Longing” is a good way to describe it, but not in a bad way. I feel it deepens my life and my art and makes me look deeper to find the Source of that longing as much as possible while still alive.
      Margaret, thanks again for your kind comment. Great to continue on this journey of learning with you!

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      1. I am so glad that you understood what I meant by “longing” it is not as simple as it sounds, it goes deeper, I see it as a wonderful, good thing. I totally get what you are saying….I have so many paintings and it is hard for me to get it out there to market, I have no clue how to get started, it does get discouraging. I think that we have a society that doesn’t value the art that we make and if there is a place, it is hidden from view or reach, at least for now. I try to remain positive because it can be disconcerting to compile a mass of paintings and have seemingly no interest in them from the outside. It doesn’t help that people can easily go to a store and get a “pretty picture” for a cheap price to decorate their homes. Our art (being hoity toity here) goes beyond that…..it touches the spirit, conveys the sense of place or feeling (I hope!) but the majority of people aren’t into art that compels or touches, they are after rote aesthetic.. Sad to say but true. I always go back to why I do art in the first place, the enjoyment of it and the discussion of it with other artists. We all want our art to be admired and appreciated but in this throw away society it is becoming difficult to find that. Sorry, didn’t mean to get an essay going here. It is very much on my mind and often it can be a confusing state but I am always trying to re-frame it and remain positive. It is a journey of learning isn’t it? okay…I’m done! lol

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      2. Very well said Margaret. I completely understand why an essay (or more) is needed to convey what you are saying, it is a very deep topic. I wrote a post specifically about this, I dont think you saw that one, it is titled “Why I (still) bother to paint”. I am keen to hear what you think about that. I feel if we find a good answer to the question: why paint?, we have a good reason for doing anything in life as good as we can. I am constantly pondering this issue, I am sure you are too, so we can exhange some thoughts on it in our future posts?
        I read about the “slow art” movement just this morning for the first time. It seems to touch on the same issue.
        Upward and onward!

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      3. exactly! upward and onward…..go forth artists! lol I would love to discuss this very much. I will find that post and get back to you on it. I am trying to have “computer free Sundays” so be patient. 🙂 I am looking forward to more discussion. Take care and have a wonderful morning/noon/evening? no idea where you are in the world…..shame on my lack of not knowing that much about you *head bowed* I guess I need to go snoop! lol

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  5. Oh yes, I forgot to say, I fully agree with your comment about cheap art online. I resolved at the start never to do that, I am fortunate enough not to be in dire financial need, and would rather give away my art for free to anyone who really, really appreciates it. Knowing it gives them joy would give me enough reward, I would even make a frame if I have the time! But finding non artists who have enough time to stop and contemplate things n a sensitive way, that is really the question, perhaps? It goes to the concepts of taking care, community, kindness to others, etc.

    Another thing about online art, I noted the market abounds with gigantic acrylic paintings that I suspect take about 2 hours to complete. These are pretty to me, but my wife calls it “decorative art”. I am not really keen to have my paintings labelled as such!

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