#O119: An Invisible String

Observing myself from a safe distance whilst painting – I noticed in my last few paintings I seem to be seeking a mythical sweet spot between the representational landscape and a pure abstract painting. At times – as in this painting – the search can get quite rough!

The painting moves forward and back through many possible configurations. I noticed as soon as it became too obviously a landscape – I started scraping out and obliterating edges. When it gets too wild – as in this painting – I try to pull it back from the purely abstract and messy. Sometimes the painting wants to stay in the wild…


For the longest time I have been wanting to quote the poem “Open and Closed Space” by Tomas Transtromer. Every time in my search to find it – one of my other poetry books ambushed me and stole the show. Here is the poem now below.

Notice how the poet and narrator confidently states his observations throughout the poem – almost factual – confident and prophetic. But at the very last – he revises himself, uncertainty steps in, and the poem becomes so much more real for it. To me, the success of the poem hinges around that uncertainty. Uncertainty is essential to original art.

Open and Closed Space
With his work, as with a glove, a man feels the universe.
At noon he rests a while, and lays the gloves aside
    on a shelf.
There they suddenly start growing, grow huge
and make the whole house dark from inside.

The darkened house is out in the April winds.
"Amnesty" the gras whispers, "amnesty."
A boy runs along with an invisible string that goes
     right up into the sky.
There his wild dream of the future flies like a kite, 
     bigger than his town.

Farther to the north, you see from a hill the blue
      matting of fir trees
on which the shadows of the clouds
do not move.
No, they are moving.

Tomas Transtromer, trans. Robert Bly in
The Half-Finished Heaven


Thanks for visiting my blog. If I do not see you before the end of Christmas, have a great festive season and I hope you are happy and content!

8 thoughts on “#O119: An Invisible String

  1. Having followed your work for a while now, I can see through the paint marks on this to the representational landscapes you were doing a while ago, the composition is still there, and your use of the word ‘obliterate’ makes me think that that is what you are attempting to do, breaking through to new ways of expression. Still what do I know ๐Ÿ™‚ I just take photo’s ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway my friend, have a restful and cool Yule!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks FR! Yes, I certainly feel like I am ready to do something a bit different, but still looking for what it is. But I do like my last few paintings better than anything else I have done. Let’s see if I still feel like that in a few months’ time! Thanks for your good wishes – same to you, I look forward to some whopping landscape photos also!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I adore this path that you on, I almost feel myself chasing the unknown along with you. “Uncertainty is essential to original art”, yes! exactly….you nailed it! I love the fact that you are allowing yourself to follow the path of your inner painting muse. Love this adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maybe the structure of your previous landscape painting provides the support for the experiments — certainly there’s a nice tension and balance between movement in the broken brush strokes and gravitas that comes from the landscape forms. Really enjoy seeing the changes through the paintings. I liked the paintings you did before and I like these too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Aletha. I feel like my latest paintings come close to the life/landscape situation I am after. There is a nuance, patina in the paint to the right of the focal point here which reminds me so much of a marsh at last light that my heart aches with happy sadness. That is what I am looking for. I so much appreciate your encouragement. Have a happy Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

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