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Omphaloskepsis Blog

A new group of colleagues and 5th painting complete

Dec 8, 2009

At least I think it’s complete. It’s become a tradition now to have Chloe pose in front of my completed paintings. This one hooks me in my gut more so than the others. It’s more hauntingly grotesque and beautiful at the same time. I find the bright, blood red mouth and pig-like nose and ghostly eyes quite disturbing. But what really disturbs me is the animal-like figure; the body and the fore and hind limbs. It feels more like a thing than a person. And the painting feels like a need so great and deep it can never be swallowed. It feels like trying to grasp water, or trying to hug water, trying to fill that space inside, that big hole, that big gap. She looks also like she’s in a bit of a dream-like run.


I learned quite a bit from the last to this painting and it translated in the use of paint and the colors and the brushwork. For the next painting I would like to concentrate and focus even harder on the water and the qualities of the water. I particularly like the lower right corner and the hand and foot and the bright cyan trailing from the leg, as well the movement of the water as the arm trails off. I love the composition. While I intended to begin with the water darker, I believe I began too dark and will need to be careful with the next painting to come to a compromise.
    Tonight I attended the Seattle Group. An artists’ group run by Mark Tracy, in his Seattle art studio. There were 12 of us there, just 2 women. I was hoping to meet Tracy Boyd, but she couldn’t make it tonight. We had a thrilling conversation about “Perceive for perceiving” and how it relates to the ontology of the image, something I would like to think more about and struggle with. I loved what Mark said about his own art making and how he feels connected to the original aesthetic mark which he believes defines humanity. I’m not sure what I think about that, whether or not it defines humanity. It’s like, if a tree falls and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? If beauty exists but no one has defined it as beauty, does it still exist?  However, he needs to begin somewhere and he’s beginning with the fuzzy line when mark-making became somehow associated with aesthetics. Originally, however, and for many, many centuries, the aesthetics were about tradesmanship, craftsmanship, skill, training. When did art acquire a mystique about it? This mystery of the maker being not just a trades person but an Artist with a capital A, driven to express themselves in this unique and independent way? And where do beauty, as in the sensuality of the surface, and concept come together? That is perhaps, where I see the commingling that transforms art from finely honed skill and elevates it to a profound aesthetic, one that rouses the senses to reunite them with consciousness, even if only momentarily.
    This meeting tonight was exactly what I’ve been looking for, for such a long time. I can’t tell you how relieved I am to find it. I had to “sit on my hands” so that I didn’t do what I have a tendency to do, monopolize the debate. After I spoke up a few times I shut up and listened. I was proud of my restraint. LOL My children wanted to know how it went. I told them it was a very intelligent discussion (teleological, “ontology of the image”) and my 7 and 8 year olds replied, “oh, you mean that he wasn’t hipposesquepediolophobic? !
(the fear of big words)

Category: Seattle Group

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