Saturday, 22 November 2008

... the abstraction to be filled (?)

Ok... more to follow from the previous one: That is difficult - not to read Rothko's Black on Grey paintings as horizon line. But I'm trying - and the painting is all the better for it. Brian had commented on abstraction as the barest hint at something, to be filled in. Let me fill that thought a bit further - or take it elsewhere.


I played a little game last Saturday. Took Tom to the corridor where my small studies were lined up and asked him what he thought. What he thought about the colours? He walks up and down, forward and backward. Then goes: 'I really like that field of bluebells. How wonderful.'

I grinned. It's water, all water, nothing but water. No bluebells. But suddenly there was a depression, a field of bluebells and a bit of woodlands in the distance on the left hand.

Seascape study #2
Seascape Study #2 or some bluebells?
Pastel on board, 18x12cm

Irene joins us. Listens to my complications on what I am trying to do, listens to Tom's representations of what he sees. And talks about colour fields.

Now, I've never seen any of her paintings. She doesn't show them. In the four years I've been to her classes I haven't seen her do a single piece of art. And somehow I really value that. It's hers, it's private. It's not for showing. I don't think that Tom or Chris who've been there a lot longer than me have ever seen any of her paintings. I know she paints abstract, large canvasses, with palette knives, several paintings at once, and some bits more. But that's it. That's all I need to know.

But back to the abstraction.

One of my pieces last year was based on the textures and marks on the wall... originally titled Textured Wall marks #1 and #2, both of them sold; one to a friend. And her family suddenly discovered a little girl in a white dress in my wall marks. First I was chuffed, how nice: I can paint people unintentionally. But then it losts its appeal. That little girl was all I could see. EVERY SINGLE TIME. How irritating. That favourite red/white spot of colour in the painting had become something concrete other than a red/white spot of pigment.

Textured walls no 1
Textured Wall #1
Soft pastel on board, 50x70cm

Luckily, she disappeared after a while again. Phew...

The field of bluebells and the little girl in a white dress make me both doubtful that I should be intent on filling those blanks, gaps, voids and hesitations in. And it's those moments that I'm very glad to have Irene there to pull the looking/seeing back to fields of colours.

So, no, Rothko most definitely NOT paints horizon lines. I am pretty certain of that.... I think.

1 comment:

Philip said...

I like this very much!

I am also a fan of Rothko by the way.