Painting in the Woods – Day One

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Enveloping, quiet, vivid, comforting, safe

Wow, one bright yellow green leaf !

Gone

Still

Quivering

Momentary

Restful

Light, gentle

Private

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Thoughts on painting in my studio space in the woods.

‘The thingness of the thing.’

1. The feeling tone holds the key to the painting.

2. Content

3. Form, Line, space, color and texture – Do they support the feeling I want?

At the moment of existence, it is what it is.

Feelings ‘predictable. Chances of my feelings at the moment’  Cezanne

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Before I left for an invitational painting workshop in Portland, I cut the canvas for vertical trees, but when I stood in the space in the woods my immediate reaction was this is going to be  a square painting. I went with my first thought.  Square – 4 square canvases, which at the end will work as a set of four. At the end of the day, the painting did not look like how I intended it to be, but it did convey my feeling in this space with the sunlight flickering through the trees.

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#1 acrylic on canvas 32″ x 32″ unfinished

The next morning the painting looked like it had two eyes looking at me so I painted out one of them. Now the painting is split in half. I’ll continue working on it back in the studio at home.

 An exhibition, Richard Diebenkorn: The Berkeley Years, 1953-1966, is at the de Young Museum. It seems that there is always a prominent vertical line in his paintings, even more so than his horizontal lines. I just noticed that my transitions from picture or blog has verticals, not intentional – just think it is interesting.

Listening to Miles or Kind of Blue

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‘Listening to Miles’    6. 12. 2013       64″ x 46″    Atelier Interactive Acrylic on canvas

‘Listening to Miles’    Day #5

Ouch !  I need a professional photographer, John Janca,  to record my paintings. I have lots of parallax distortion, here.  The color and focus definitely could be better. Cadmium red and cadmium orange are used here. My hands are taking a beating from using the computer too much. Leaving the computer at home, I’m heading to Oregon to paint with a group of artists for a week. By settling myself in the middle of the woods I plan to take chances, paint what is unfamiliar to me, try new colors, new shapes, new whatever – just throw away the familiar for awhile and see what happens. If you keep doing the same thing, you are going to stay in the same place. Right? We will see if I can do it.

This painting came very fast – 5 days.  I was listening to Miles Davis in the studio. My idea was to paint about the sound of his  music.

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Day #1 – What a fun day this was!  The painting stayed very loose, strong and lots of color.

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Day #2 – At some time the painting takes over and I let the painting take me in a new direction. Fantasy animal-like shapes started to appear, a couple of  figures popped up, a strange shape with blue lines punctuated the painting.

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Day 3# – Detail showing brush strokes.  I changed the Stripe to green.

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Day #4  Today I took out the stripes. They were distracting. My eye went to them first and that wasn’t what I wanted to emphasize. Adding black on the lower left hand corner seemed to be right. I strengthened my shapes. Now I see a four legged animal in there.

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Definitely some guy is tapping his foot over there on the left.  I was listening to a lot of his music when I painted this. Interesting, there are no cool blues  in this painting.

A few months ago I did go see a small exhibit of artwork by Miles Davis in Napa Valley. His trumpet was displayed. So was one of his jackets and a wonderfully soft leather bag. It was a thrill to be so close to part of him. He was an extraordinary jazz musician.

Moushrabiyas, Picasso and the Red Line – Morocco, Spain and California

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New version of ‘Rolled’ – unfinished   click on image to enlarge

Paintings evolve. Sometimes painters work on a painting for years. Picasso did. Going back to the studio I looked at the painting ‘Rolled ‘ which I thought was finished.  It’s so dark ! I can’t see the variations in color! All shapes are the same size! Auughh It needs work. So I started to paint. One stroke changes the painting. Another stroke needs to be done. I turn the canvas in a different direction.  I looked at  ‘Ghost  Horse’ and thought, how can I relate this canvas to that one? On paper I sketched my hand, foot and elbow, cut out the shapes and pinned them on the canvas. (I know, I’m not supposed to puncture the canvas with holes according to the old rules) Now I have to integrate the bigger shapes. The red line needs to be stronger. Well, maybe it is ok……

‘Rolled’

One of my blogger friends looked at this painting . His response was To be honest, I don’t really get paintings, esp. illustrative, abstract  paintings. It is nice to get into the mind of a painter. Er? Any hint … interpretation? I’m totally dense.
OK . You have challenged me! You are from S. California so you probably swim in the ocean. Ever get rolled by a wave when you are in the ocean and don’t know which way is up? So if you look at that painting, on the lower right just above the red line you will see a little white paint shaped like me falling legs and arms up with curved back, If you look around the painting you see bits of blue sky The painting or ocean is dark with flashes of light. all kinds of shapes, fish, kelp, water swirling maybe you get slammed against a rock and get a flash of pain (red line). So my painting is how I felt when I got rolled. Or how I felt with some situation going on in my life. How I felt in my head.
Abstract painting is like interpreting jazz. Abstract painting is made up of variations of color, form, line, texture, space. It’s how the painter feels. How does Branford Marsalis feel when he plays his saxophone? He makes that instrument talk using variations of sound. How do you feel when you respond to these abstract music rhythms and sounds?
Squint your eyes when you look at a landscape. It reduces your ‘picture’ to basic shapes, color, line, texture, space.

‘Zellig’ by Carla Trefethen Saunders available on Amazon.com

This painting has many layers. It started out in the year 2000. The painting was about how I felt about moushrabiyas. In Morocco, in strict Islamic tradition, moushrabiyas or intricately carved geometrical screens were designed to keep Muslim women hidden from view. These screens on balconies and windows allowed women to observe their surroundings without themselves being seen. I was told they were to protect the women from men’s eyes. As a western woman I interpreted that as taking away women’s rights. Our world is in a turmoil when it comes to the issue of women’s rights.