In the collection of the artist
…a painting that incorporates my love of flowers, light, and words.
Hello my friends,
Today I am sharing a very personal painting with you, and I am also going to explain a lot of the ideas and thoughts that often inform my still-life paintings. This post may seem verbose, however hopefully it will also express some of the thought-work that is part of my creative process.
Thank you for your patience and attention.
When I create paintings I am often influenced by my love of paint, the ability to move and manipulate the oil medium the way I want, however most of my work is also underpinned by my personal life philosophy that beauty if found everywhere in the life we lead, and this beauty adds so much value to our existence.
I personally relate to a humanist theory of painting, that is, that good painting is the ideal imitation of the human experience. This theory is based on the classic writings of Greco-Roman heritage, mainly Aristotle and Horace.
About three years ago I happened upon an art history essay by Rensseaner W. Lee “Ut Pictura Poesis” that analyzes the close relationship between poetry and painting. How these sister arts were considered in fundamental nature to be the same in content and in purpose even if in manner of expression they differ. Poetry communicates the human experience with words and painting uses visual images.
Thus painting is mute poetry, and poetry is a speaking painting. Ut pictura poesis, literally means – as is painting so is poetry, or from a visual artist’s point of view – as is poetry so is painting.
This is a concept I think about often, however I do not have as strong a foundation in poetry as I would like. Though in my mind, poetry is most often experienced today via song, be it a ballad by Coldplay or Nirvana. I am often drawn into the lyrics of songs – the emotions the words evoke, the images that appear in my minds eye – so in my thoughts I have begun to ponder how I can better evoke the emotions and thoughts a particular song may inspire in pictoral form…
…This is where the inspiration for this painting, Love Letters, began…
On an August afternoon this summer, S., Naomi, and I were driving home listening to a live recording of a Peter Gabriel concert. The finale song was “In Your Eyes”, (one of my favorite songs) when S. told me that this song is the one he most equates with me. You know, my heart went pitter-patter and I began to listen even more intently to the lyrics.
Struck by this heady knowledge, I began to contemplate how I would express some of the tender and bittersweet emotions this song has always drawn out of me. And for the rest of the car ride, I contemplated how this could be done.
The next time I was in the studio, I tried to put myself back in that mental place and set about to create a still-life painting that keyed into the lyrics that always tug on my heart strings.
Poetry, music, and images… I gathered all these impressions and built something from it…
Here is how the painting developed
Day 2: Further developed the piece, working on adapting shapes as the flowers adapt to being cut and inside. From experience, I know cosmos do not last long, so I really tried to nail their shapes down and get them almost complete because I knew they would fade fast. Where these white trumpet flowers turned out to be very hardy and stayed close to the same over three days.
Day 3: Got further along with the flowers, and realized the composition needed something more, something more meaningful... So began to think about the composition again and to make decisions on how to improve it some.
Day 4: Added some love notes I have given S. over the years to the composition. As this painting was inspired by the song "In Your Eyes" I thought the painting needed something that was explicitly related to our relationship.
Though, I must admit this painting is still not complete in my mind... I have been looking at it again, and will probably work on it some more in the future. The benefit of this piece being part of our collection, is that I can indefinitely fiddle with it.