Monday, September 10, 2012


 What am I trying to say and who might be listening?  We are influenced on so many different levels.  When I am making a connection with a canvas, beginning a conversation with line and form, influenced by color and all the sights I have taken in, the words which have been spoken, how can I be honest with myself.  Is that my real question?  No, there are layers here in this thinking just as there are layers on a painting.  The painting begins simply and it changes each day with a new layer of values, textures, moods.  How do we know when it is finished or is it ever finished?  I am reading de Kooning, about the man, his work, the time 40s through 70s, and his layers under each canvas.  Sometimes he work years on a painting, reworking; sometimes scraping paint off, layering on newspaper, pulling off paint with newspaper.  he was searching and not easily or often satisfied.  Sounds quite painful to me.

Pain...paint...hmmmm.  My thoughts wander.  I have made 3 hurts to my body in these past 24 hours...pain has stopped my paint.  I cut my thumb last night; I was too tired to be thinking clearly.  Today I was chilled and needed to change my clothing before a meeting.  I stubbed my toe.  It is now many colors, but not something I want to muse on to closely.  Then I dropped a metal lid on my other foot:  I had to give up and go take a bath...whew!
 I am speaking honestly of my hurt, but what of honesty in representing art.  We all take photos of our work.  Some photos are more honest than others.  This thought came to my distracted mind when I was scooping up an image of this painting to share here.  Above was taken a couple of days ago (9x12) and below was taken today.
 The light was poor in the studio so I moved this small painting to the porch and the gold glowed but the red tamed.  Is one vision more honest than another?  Or is it understood that paintings have mood and change in different light or even in different surroundings?
With the turn in the weather, we are all seeking the comfort of more clothing and my scarves are having their season once again.  Above is a detail of a new silk a detail more honest than a whole view or less honest.  A detail is more personal, close up viewing, but it misses the whole composition.  Oh, just musing here; any thoughts from you who have wandered here with me?


Altoon Sultan said...

It's interesting to think of paintings as having different moods; they certainly look different in different light, as you've shown. I try, in photos of my work, to present it in a neutral light, that will show the work unadorned and as I envisioned it. Details are additions to showing the whole thing, because they can distort a work if seen on their own.
I imagine that de Kooning loved the searching process in his painting; it might be painful for you or me, but I doubt it was, in a deep sense for him.
I hope all your hurts are healed.

Chris said...

Hi Maggie, Lovely paintings! The detail of your scarf is intense (at least to me :)) Moods affect our paintings don't they?! I think that's the difficuly of abstraction. One day to the next, I'm in a different place. What I thought I liked the day before doesn't flip the switch at the next go. I had worked on 2 30x40 paintings, one day I'd come out of the studio saying I'd had a break through only to be in tears the next. Finally my husband said to me, "This is not your epic work, finish them". He was right, of course, just the kick in the back side I needed.

Maggie Neale said...

hello Altoon, sometimes that neutral light is not timely; my studio gets dark more quickly these days and it will only get more exaggerated...
de Kooning was pained by the searching process, full of doubt, but painted many canvases when under the influence of alzheimers, course he had his canvas prepared and paints laid out, but it made him feel vital in those last years.

Maggie Neale said...

Hi Chris, thanks for your words. Moods affect our paintings and our paintings affect our moods. Sometimes I feel my paintings are a part of me; some of my paintings seem to stand on their own apart from me. Those are harder to reenter and work on again.

ArtPropelled said...

It's been far too long since I last visited your blog. I enjoyed reading about the Monoprint workshop with Jane Davies..... and now alighting on this post I had to stop and comment on the scarf detail which is absolutely delicious! As for moods and changing perceptions... I can change my mind about a carving depending on my mood or the weather. In the light of a sunny day the carving that was unacceptable on a drizzly day could suddenly pass the test and a month later I will probably be even happier with the piece. It seems I need a resting period before I judge my own work.