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Points of Connection

February 6, 2015

 

 

People imagine that artists like each other.

 

I connect with other artists as much as I connect with the rest of the population. Pressed to paint with a wide brush, I might admit I sometimes find artists more prickly and defensive.

 

If anything, I’m attracted to writers. Marilynne Robinson’s novels (Gilead, Home)feel more aligned with what I am doing in the studio than the work of most painters. Robinson has a worldview that seems profoundly positive, but that acknowledges the heartache of life, and her work brings me a lot of solace. We both seem to like to absorb the energy of someone mindfully slicing bread.

 

I went to see Mr.Turner last night; about 19th century English artist William Turner, the one famous for his increasingly abstract paintings of sea and sky. 

 

On the way home my husband (writer) did a feature length monologue about all the things he disliked about this movie, that it left him cold, disjointed.

 

I had to agree. 

 

I’ve never been attracted to Turner’s work, but I was eagerly anticipating the textures that make up director Mike Leigh’s palette; awkward intimacies, crooked teeth and other. He made my favorite film Another Year, a film that is such a slow and juicy peeling of the human onion that I can barely recommend it. 

 

Watching another painter’s life in another period was interesting for its similarities and differences to my own. But with good cinematography, I might just as happily have watched someone putting up wallpaper or making a coffee. 

 

It appears that what I do every morning is to put paint on board. The real activity is stepping into a particular headspace of warmth, expansiveness and imagining a setting that fits my mood. The quiet internal space is conjuring an aesthetic that mixes loneliness, and the swelling of our private internal worlds. 

 

That is the intersection where I might meet up with anyone; good listeners, jam makers, people who gaze out the window of the bus. 

 

 

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