On Painting "Gracefully"


"Point Lobos Environs"
oil on linen panel, 8" x 10"
Someone (Connie in the Comment Section) recently mentioned that my paintings were becoming more "graceful."

I was taken aback by that comment because it says so much without saying anything. I had to think about it and wondered what she meant, exactly. It seems it was a supreme compliment because it suggested growth of an unnamable sort. But let me see if I can connect my painting process thoughts with what she meant . . . .

This painting may or may not reach that quality, but there are aspects that point to what I think she means. For example, the gesture is used instead of the description. The green bushes in the foreground are but mere brush marks instead of well defined “bushes” . . . . . . . .those marks suggest without calling attention. The foreground field is more of a shape of a variety of similar valued tones . . . .there is a sense of something growing there without saying it directly. (at least I hoped for that!) And the rocks at the edge of the water at the ‘island’ really are not painted
r-o-c-k-s. They are just somewhat less than haphazard brush strokes that imply the presence of rocks. Is that what she meant? Is she saying I am getting closer, but not there yet? Or, is that my own thinking?

I find myself bridling my impulses . . . .holding back from making illustrations of some “thing” . . . . . .I want to leave something to the imagination and not be explicit. What I seek is to offer the viewer an opportunity to have a visual conversation with the painting. Conversation? The viewer will look at the painting which offers a hint of something, the viewer asks, the painting answers . . . . and so on. It is that quality that I seek . . .for the painting to be engaging to the viewer. And to do it by implication not replication.

Do you suppose that is what she meant by ‘graceful?’

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