Day 1 (Of NY/Italy/MN/OH Trip)

My Aunt and Uncle have a cabin at the edge of the Adirondacks. Yesterday, I took the train from DC to NYC to Amsterdam, NY. This morning, I painted my first “postcard.” Instead of painting on linen adhered to an aluminum composite panel, I painted on a piece of oil painting paper. The paper is rigid, like card stock, and slightly textured. The paper is simply much, much lighter and less bulky than the linen panels. I packed enough to last about a month.

I wrote in my last post about paintings being about more than the physical object. A painting is a physical object that facilitates an experience in the viewer through the sense of sight.

I’m writing today, as I also said in my last post, in order to flesh out what exactly it is that I am doing (as far as art making goes) and why.

When I say “why,” I mean “Why does it matter?

If you look at this painting, the one I did today, you will notice that it is not a photorealistic representation of the view. Of course, some of this difference is owing to the gap between my vision and my skill. But, ultimately, although I am a realist painter (more on that later), my goal is not to fool the eye to make it think it is really looking at nature. My goal is to see what is beautiful about a scene and then to paint the specific beauty that I see in such a way that the end product is something that the viewer can look and and receive an echo of that beauty – but in the medium of paint. So, what ends up being beautiful about the painting ends up being a combination of the physical properties of the paint – the texture and color, as well as the abstract qualities of the composition – unity, harmony, rhythm, contrast, and other things, as well as the associations aroused by representation and the manner in which those things are represented, as well as, finally, the tension between abstraction and representation. Really, in the end, the viewer contributes a great deal to his own experience of the painting in the way that he observes and digests it. But, basically, my goal is for the painting to be a physical object that presents an occasion for experiencing beauty, specifically something beautiful that originated in my experience of a particular scene.

And, it was a beautiful scene, right? From the blue of the water with the striking, yellow boat to the rhythmic curves and jutting docks, to the subtle variations of green in the hills, trees, grass.

A domani. (Or later.)

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