snapshots, novels, tone poems

Some paintings or pieces of art are snapshots–one thought, one impression, one gesture, that you want to capture, bam, on a page. I think this is where the monotypes come from. They are things I see, in my head or out, that just want to be on paper, solidified to be seen.

Some ideas are more short stories or novels (yes, I know I am mixing my metaphors here). Stories with starts and finishes and plot lines. These are crafted over time, lots of studies, comp sketches, developed to make a canvas tell the story well, with color, structure, figures, mood, gesture—all the tools a picture artist uses to create a compelling world within a frame.

And to continue the hacking apart of any metaphor consistency, some paintings, I am coming to realize, are more tone poems, needing to be paintings tht evoke a mood but perhaps do not evolve around just one plot.. These ideas just will not be contained within one illusionist framed world. A ‘realistic’ or ‘naturalistic’ painting, after all, creates an illusion of a single world contained within the canvas frame. It may be a real world impression or a complete fantasy, however, to maintain the illusion of ‘reality’ the space within the canvas edge has to be consistent…any breaks in the style of the illusion and the magic world falls….becomes paint. Consistency of space is the conscience on the shoulder of every ‘realistic’ artist. “Hey, buddy, that doesn’t really work, does it? That line flattens out her head, doesn’t look real.”

This is nothing new. Western art woke up to this breaking of illusionary space and in the 20th century used it to great and wonderful ends, glorying in the wonders of paint in itself…no longer a tool or means to and end but beautiful in its own surface.

All well and good. But some of us still want narrative in art and we resort to creating a believable space. There are endless, ‘realistic’ styles which our eyes are willing to accept as true. If we are true to our style we can create believable space and tell good and great stories. Break that style consistency and the space illusion breaks as well.

So back to the tone poem idea. I have some ideas that have been kicking around in my head and in drawing pads for, well, some for many years. These ideas simply won’t be contained within one imagined world. I have tried…and the results end up trashed. I think these ideas need to be several spaces combined. What do I mean? Paint wise I am not sure–that will show up with the canvases.

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