Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Last night Sam posed an assumption about art and the creative process. He supposed that artists use a particular brushstroke to convey a feeling, or choose a color to force a mood. Have you done this? Gone through museums and galleries trying to figure out what the artist was thinking/feeling when they painted this or that? Art books are full of stories and explanations about art. There's this one Matisse painting called "Harmony in Red." It began it's life as "Harmony in Green," then was painted over and transformed into "Harmony in Blue." Someone bought it as "Harmony in Blue," and after they had owned it for a year, Matisse persuaded them to return it, and then he painted over it a third time and it became "Harmony in Red." What the heck was Matisse thinking?

When Erin was home last summer, she spent a lot of time on facebook. Sometimes she would leave the windows open, and if I just so happened to walk by...and see some things, well, she would have closed the windows if she didn't want me peeking in, right? One of her dear friends, Lillian, had a GREAT photo of herself on facebook. I was enthralled the moment I saw it. It had mystery, beauty, light, and shadows. We (and by we, I mean Reese) copied, pasted, saved, and printed Lillian's facebook portrait in a 4x6 size so that I could use it as a guide for a painting.

I like how it turned out. It was a great photo that translated into an interesting painting.

Months later, Summer Rudd, with the American Cancer Society, asked if I would donate a painting to their Starlight Gala. Flattered, I initially decided to donate "Lillian." I temporarily re-titled it "Ever Hopeful" because...."the painting is symbolic of life with cancer...longing for an idyllic future, and seeing glimpses of it, but firmly planted in the here and now. One foot in shadow of cancer, and the other anticipating a brighter day. It can relate to one someone's personal battle with cancer, or pertain to looking for a cure within the medical community (which is what the evening is/was about!)"

Turns out that having a story to go with the art was not high on the priority list for the Starlight Gala silent auction. No matter. I'm still figuring out the business end of all this. Two huge positives were that the money raised went to a great cause, and I had the opportunity of having a piece in Gremillion Gallery for a day. (I still have the Lillian piece---donated something else)

I think Matisse just changed his mind. Apparently red worked best with the harmony he was trying to create on canvas.

And it was really better for "Lillian" to stay "Lillian."

So yes, some things are intentional, and no, some things just are what they are.


Chad said...

Interesting comments, Sarah. I wonder about intentionality sometimes, with literary works as well as painting. Your comments have solidified what I have always thought--that some things are intentional and some are intuition.

I love your title, by the way. It's vague enough to mean anything, yet apt for describing views on painting, how to read paintings, or even how to create art. Nice work.

JW said...

Nice painting. My thoughts (like they matter : ) )... It captivates because there are 2 viewers involved in the painting: 1) us, standing outside the picture looking at the scenery in the background along with 2) "Lillian" as she looks at the scenerey. In one sense we share the view/experience with "Lillian," but we bring to the experience very different emotions/expectations/hopes(?). Then there is the distinct experience of the viewer watching "lillian" look at the scenery and the story that goes with it makes you wonder "what is she thinking?"

Also, the image does not fit the standard image mold. Normally our eyes know exactly what to focus on, but in this painting we initialy focus on Lillian, but then our eyes feel that they should focus on what Lillian is focussing on-the background scenery. Then your mind asks "why? what is she thinking? Is she examining the scenery or just gazing? Is she even looking at the scenery or is she just standing there enjoying the air" and thus art has done what art does...makes you think.

I am probably analyzing too much. I am about to take my last final for the semester. So my brain has kicked into high analytical mode!

Sarah said...

Also, I spend an inordinate amount of time looking for my glasses. They get in the way, or are uncomfortable, and I take them off and forget where I've put them. One day I found them in the refrigerator.