Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ghost Ship, Morning

Ghost Ship, Morning. 2011. Acrylic, water color, pastel, gel medium.
Until I saw Jennifer Ewing's exhibit and then, Hesse's boats at the Berkeley Art Museum, I hadn't thought too much about my current series of boat paintings, that is, was there any deeper symbolism or was I simply fascinated by the shapes and playing with color?

For instance, I know what I want to accomplish with my ongoing series of restaurant paintings - I'm fascinated by the way people interact in public spaces, or the private space that people create around themselves in public.  I make up stories about my figures or wait for them to tell me their stories. Maybe that's why the series moves so slowly because the more I work on these, the more they speak to me.

I can hear you saying to each other - "hears voices, does she?" and back off carefully. Well, actually yes, I do. Not voices telling me to hurt other people or drive the English from France like Joan of Arc but, I suspect, the voice that a writer hears when he or she is telling a story. I've become a writer as well as a painter in my later years but I don't write fiction. So, I think that my figures are the equivalent of fiction and I listen for their voices, a narrative in visual form.

But in other cases, I just go along as the spirit moves me and then, later, have the "ah Ha!" moment when it all starts to make sense. I had not considered the symbolism of ships and boats. They deal with travel and journeys but it's also about baggage and cargo, what kind of baggage (cargo) am I carrying and how am I navigating over the deep waters of late middle age? Given how tumultuous my life as been, I find it interesting that so many of these paintings are so very calm. The one that I finished last year, "Moss Landing, Estuary" was completed after I returned from getting my mother packed and moved to a senior facility. It was an incredibly difficult time for my sister and me. We had to deal with a horrible mess and a woman who didn't want to go and made us suffer every minute of the day, yet the painting is calm and peaceful.

Go figure.


Zoomie said...

Glorious, dreamy colors, too.

Jennifer Ewing said...

I appreciate the way you use the theme of boats and navigation and bring out the idea of cargo. I keep thinking about what a boat does for us and how we use it to go out onto another element- the water- or in other words- the unknown.