Updated: Feb 4
This is such a great title for what I want my paintings to do. I want those of you viewing my work to connect to what I saw or felt when I created the painting. Most of what I am moved to paint is done due to an emotion I felt when I saw it. It might be a sailboat in a safe harbor after a storm, a pelican flying low across the water, or a father holding his toddler's hand on their walk home. I want to convey that felt emotion to the paper, and I want to connect that emotion to the viewer. A musician wants to connect an emotion through notes, I want to do that with paper, paint, and brush.
I like stories. Whether from someone telling me a story or my reading one someone has written, I like the story, or the narrative. That is how I see my paintings...narrative. Of course, I hope the painting stands alone on it's own merit as a painting, on how you the viewer connects to it. Then there is "the rest of the story" as the newsman Paul Harvey would say. I liked to know the story behind the art, or the art history. I taught the history of art. I enjoyed knowing the why, or the who, or the what.
I have been greatly influenced by this study of famous paintings and the artists who created them. As a watercolorist, I have long admired the works of Andrew Wyeth. The painting, Christina's World, is a beautiful painting. It stands alone in it's worthiness, without a story. When I learned the story, that this woman was handicapped and would drag herself across the field, I had a whole different perspective of the painting; of the artist; of my feeling about the painting.
Another artist that I taught about was George Rodrigue. His work is very different from mine and I was not drawn to it, but he was a successful Pop Artist from our region...right across the state line into Louisiana. I enjoyed his creative placement of his main subject, Blue Dog. When I taught a lesson on his painting and learned his narrative, I made a connection with him. The inspiration behind his Blue Dog was a cajun folklore character, Loup-Garou. The Loup-Garou is a werewolf, a ghost dog of the swamps. As I learned about him, I was hooked. I wanted to look deeper into the paintings, into the story.
Another narrative that changed how I looked at it is Michelangelo's The Last Judgement. This painting is in the Sistine Chapel, but not part of the iconic ceiling. It is the wall behind the alter. It is a huge, over-whelming masterpiece. I learned that Michelangelo did not want to paint this huge alter wall, having just finished years of painting the ceiling. He declined the Pope's commission. But the Pope pressured him to accept, and Michelangelo was not happy. The Last Judgement depicts Christ lifting his arm for the blessed to ascend into Heaven and the damned to descend into fiery Hell. Michelangelo's "payback" was to put the Pope's face on one of the damned going down to Hell. I have seen this Chapel twice in my life. The first time I did not know this story and spent my entire time looking up at the famous ceiling. The second time I did know the story. At that visit I spent most of my time at the alter looking closely at the back wall to see if I could find the figure with the Pope's face. Yes, both are spectacular, but the story had me looking closer...connecting.
These are just a few of the connections I have made with other paintings. Many of which continue to this day to influence me in my life as an artist. Thanks for letting me share these with you. I hope they will help you connect to me and to my art, and what my blog is attempting to do, connecting. If you are interested in "the rest of my story" about the narratives of my paintings, join me in the future stories by signing up below with your email. This will give you notice of my new stories.
Thanks for joining me on my first story,