Friday, July 14, 2017

Waiting On Sunday (oil on canvas, 2017)



When I was eight years old, prompted by a short-lived interest in pirates, I borrowed a copy of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island”, illustrated by N. C. Wyeth, from my local public library. I was immediately enamored by the images that punctuated the story. My favorite was the one of the blind pirate, Old Pew, ambulating down a path in the moonlight with his probing cane extended out in front of him as he gropes in the darkness for his missing comrades and his tricorne, which sits in the foreground in the lower right corner. It’s a brilliant painting, perfectly composed and executed with admirable skill, but what captivated me the most was the emotions that the image was able to elicit from me as I gazed at the image.

Visual arts can communicate myriad messages, concepts and ideas. They can educate and inform, entertain, shock, inspire, move us to think differently or take action, preserve the past or predict the future. For me, though, (and this, admittedly, is my personal bias) the most important function that art serves is to manifest the complexities of one’s feelings and emotions as something tangible, to be shared with others and to preserve those ephemeral and intangible abstractions indefinitely.

The arrangement of the forms, the color and value choices, the means by which the work is executed, the subject (or lack thereof), if executed with skill and sensitivity, can have the power of the greatest poetry and lead us to the sublime. (If you’ve ever stood in front of a painting and been moved to tears as I have, you may know exactly what I mean.) A lofty aspiration, to be sure, but that is what beckons me out to the studio each and every day.

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