Monday, July 13, 2009

The Studio

Here are my paintings to date. I tried to be as versatile as possible in my style of painting in these works. I have not been painting for very long, and I am still trying to work out how I really like to paint. My professor Jim Mullen told me that style is not what is most important, and in the end it is really inescapable to paint like yourself. Be that as it may, I am still just starting to allow myself to paint like me. 
Please feel free to comment on what you like or ego isn't tied up in any of this so you can be as harsh as you like, I won't be offended.
The latest painting in progress....this is a painting of a family I saw at Popham on one of the rare sunny days we had in June. I am leaving their faces blank purposefully. I think one of the most interesting aspects of the Tourist perspective is the generally tendency to ignore fellow tourists. When you visit a place that is new to you, all you have are the archetypes of the location to give you other words, we search for things or sights that are already familiar when we go somewhere. In reality, we are complete aliens to the new landscape and we have nothing in common with what lies in front of us. This leaves us with the opportunity to either make our own experience or to seek out a preconditioned ideal. Oddly enough, the only aspect of a new place that we are intimately connected with are the other people, the other tourists, around us. However, these people generally fade into the background of the landscape. We move in pods, adrift and alone, almost as if we are afraid to make contact with others on their journey to our "authentic" experience. By focusing a painting on this anonymity, and specifically pointing out the potential beauty of the interaction, I hope to speak to this situation.  
My painting station
This is a fairly large piece done on a piece of wood. I have a certain fondness for wood, I'm not sure why. It might have to do with the undeniable texture and character of wood...I love how the grain insists on declaring its presence through the paint. I love pushing the paint around on this less absorbent material...
I painted this down at Maquoit bay on a glorious friday afternoon. The tide was beginning to go out, and sure enough, by the time I was packing up, the mudflats were starting to really come into view. It's gorgeous down there. The sun had just come out in full force and there was a steady, briny breeze (that attempted to knock over my easel) that I tried to depict here in the trees. 
I'm still working on this one. Matt and Nat agree that the trees in the center are slightly problematic....
This was fun. This piece of wood is about 4 feet long by 2 feet wide....a real beast. This painting comes from a photo I took up in Acadia. I was wandering around Thunder Hole on a particularly foggy day and I caught a glimpse of a young man standing on the rocks in the distance. The fog moved around him, concealing and revealing him as he gazed out on the rushing sea. There was something so unspeakably lonely and beautiful about that moment, that I knew I had to recreate it. 
The painting itself is slightly more graphic than I was intending. I got carried away with the geometry of the rocks, and I think I may have to tame it in the future, but the water turned out wonderfully. I only used a pallet knife, and it was so much fun to paint. Hopefully I'll do more of that soon. 
This is a small boat study looking off of the dock at MDIBL on Mount Desert Island. I'm a fool for boats, what can I say...
Boat at seal harbor...Matt liked this one, so perhaps I'll make another one larger. Even though painting boats is a very typical and expected of Maine painters...there's just something so wonderful about the boats as they wait expectantly to be sailed. They are like dogs on a tether, waiting to have someone come play. As usual, I'm see things to be more romantic than necessary, but, so it goes. We cannot help our tendencies...
Again at Seal Harbor, here I watched this little girl playing on the beach for about an hour. Her name was Aurelia. I initially included her mother in the painting, but somehow I just loved the lone figure of the little toddler looking out on the empty harbor. 
This is the view from Star Point at MDIBL. The sun had just come out and I took advantage of the beautiful afternoon hues. It was wonderful...perhaps the best part of that afternoon was that all the scientists came out of their labs (MDIBL stands for Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratories and I went there with Matt because of his neuroscience research) to look at the sun. Some just stood and looked at it for a while, just taking in the vitamin D. June was far too rainy for all of our mental health, and I'm sure if you spend your days squinting into a microscope, the sun is even more satisfying.
As the fog lifted, I painted this cove at low tide. 
LOVE this painting. I think this is the view I saw most frequently in June; the sky and sea only differentiated by a slight gradient. I will probably paint this one large....
Thunder I also became a tourist attraction. I was sitting out on a rock, and every so often I would catch tourists sneaking up behind me to take a picture of me working. It seems karmically fitting that I should be photographed by tourists, considering I spend much of my time covertly photographing them. 

The field work from Acadia as a whole

This is a small boy jumping at the beach. The photo does not do it justice, it's really much brighter. 

 These four represent some of the archetypes of Maine; the Lobster, Moose and Lobsterman. The fat lady is just something I did because it seemed right. I know that the stereotype of the overweight tourist at the beach is completely overdone, and I don't think that my fat lady is really aiming to be that stereotype. She is large, but she is regal and elegant. I wanted her to be as imposing a landscape as the beach, if not more. She is truly of monumental stature....

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