I think this will be a shorter blog post than normal, at least I hope so. It’s October and All Hallows’ Eve season. The fabric between this side and the other side has worn thin. For years my Halloween costume for parties was conceptual. It’s been a really long time since I costumed up or partied for the holiday, and I have forgotten what those concepts were. It usually involved face paint and some idea like, intuition.
In a pandemic, zoom, landscape and figure painting class, recently, we were introduced to concepts beyond just painting the subject, idea nouns like thought, dream, joy, honesty, hope. Then in another class, we were taught that we are designing a painting and were given assignments to take 3 pictures of different statues and combine them into a single painting.
We were asked questions like why did you paint that, what does it mean, what feeling or emotion is evoked. For example, that’s not just warm red paint on that cow... it’s the red cow or bull, symbolizing the end of the world. Symbolism was the subject of numerous lectures, the vertical line (authority, masculine), the horizontal line (stability, feminine), the yin and yang, the diagonal (chaos), and colors, the chakras and their meanings, musical notes, painting parallels to music and poetry.
Most recently, we were asked to explain our work in terms of descriptively, expressively, emotionally, symbolically, psychologically, tactically, spatially, theoretically, and atmospherically.
During a critique this weekend at a blended (zoom and in person, distanced) workshop an artist had painted a building with a large tree on the inner most corner in the foreground and a smaller house in a bright yellow in the distant middle ground or near background in front of a tree filled horizon. Our instructor said if you want us to look at the house and tree in the foreground, lower the value or grey the distant house; unless, you want to bend our consciousness around that tree in foreground and have us focus on that house in the distance.
I painted this painting in celebration of autumn and Halloween. That’s about as scary as I get these days, opposed to drawing pictures of Icabod Crane with a flaming pumpkin and LEGO skelly heads, as my son was assigned in his zoom art class.
As Sunflower Lay Dying 9x12 oil on canvas (2020)