Monday, September 21, 2009


Just finished a canvas (~4x3 foot). This one is new for me. It's very loosely based on reality. On one of our hikes through the Austrian woods I knew I wanted to paint a forest picture, all mysterious, trees, branches, roots, rocks all jumbled together. I thought about how in earlier times the people believed the woods were filled with strange secret things (now we've classified all the plants and animals, fenced in the wild beasts, and tagged the trees with signs and numbers).

For me a new idea was to add the shapes of letters, not to hide any secret message but because we recognize letters as special, and therefore we can see them in a jumble of lines and shades, kind of like how we see faces on certain rocks, or how some discover the image of Jesus on the bark of a tree. What actually do you "see" when you see a letter?

There are also several deliberate perceptual anomalies I was able to get away with. They were easier to work into the painting since reality (or photo's of reality) wasn't lecturing me about what I should and shouldn't paint.

The painting was a fun experiment and it gave me lots of ideas about how to paint other paintings. And that's what a satisfactory painting is supposed to do.... make you want to explore again and paint the next painting. I'm also beginning to conclude that I have a serious obsession about rocks. I really find those boring chunks of matter interesting.

I took some pictures during the painting process to see how things changed evolved. There weren't any radical changes, except that I ended up painting the rocks completely differently than I had at the beginning intended. The top photo was taken at the beginning of September, the middle from the middle, and the last photo is the completed painting (I hope) from 21 September.

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