Some people say art needs no explanation. I’m not sure who those people are, but I disagree.
Because if you look at the six paintings I just put up on my “New Work” page, you would be forgiven if you were a bit confused. Three still lifes with berries, ok--but what’s with the complete abstracts? And then a very realistic piece with flowers (is that a floral? Or a still life?). What’s going on?
Turns out, I haven’t posted new work on my website or a new blog since November (how did THAT happen?). But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working hard on my painting, and learning a lot. And my focus hasn’t been so much on WHAT I’ve been painting as what I’ve been painting ON. I am learning to paint on canvas (and also on aluminum panel, but not so much).
Some of you may have heard me whine and kvetch in the past--I want to paint bigger pieces, bigger, bigger! And paper only goes so big--unless you pay outrageous sums for highly specialized pieces that are hard to come by. But I didn’t enjoy painting on canvas, it’s different, it feels scratchy under my brush, and the canvas kind of bounces when you paint on it, and then, it’s so big, where will I store it?
Hear the whine?
But this summer, I bit the bullet and began working on canvas, gradually getting bigger and bigger. I’m learning. I’m getting accustomed to the bounce, to the scratchiness, to the greater amount of paint I need. I’m getting there. Now, back to the paintings.
So, the top row of paintings on the New Works page is all 24” wide and 36” tall. Kind of bigger, but not that much different…And then I loved the “Cherries Jubilee” painting so much, with all the circles and straight brush marks that I ended up doing a very festive painting, of just circles and straight brush strokes. It looks a little like how going to the circus feels, and it makes me so happy to look at, that I felt like singing, which is why it is called “How Can I Keep From Singing”. And then, I wanted to keep going a little in that direction, which is why the next painting took that idea on. “Joy Goes Viral” is a square (notoriously tough, compositionally) on canvas, 24” by 24”.
But then I took on a larger canvas, 30” x 40”, with a table full of spring flowers in vases in front of me, and for the life of me, I could not make an abstract painting from them. I tried...but the more I painted, the more it looked like what I was seeing--which is not such a bad thing, really!
So now you know a little more about the why’s behind these works. I’ve got a 36” by 48” canvas waiting for me this week…