Saturday, June 14, 2014

It's About Choices

Awhile back I got hooked on a Sci-Fi  series called "Fringe." It was about our world and another dimension just a bit different from ours. The bad guy was Leonard Nimoy who had discovered how to move between the fringes. Things got really bad when a mad scientist in this world kidnapped his son from the other world after the son could not be cured and died here. It set off a war between the two world's.

"Stairway To Heaven," version 1
"X-File" and conspiracy geeks no doubt loved this show but what stuck in my mind was this. Crossing over to meet the mysterious Nimoy they are looking down the East River in NYC and we are all startled to see the Twin Towers. Nimoy's character dismisses this by saying, "Different choices were made."

Unbidden, that line returned to my consciousness as I took a painting I started several months ago but dismissed and wanted to throw out.

As you can see, it is a lonely scene, one I happened on in Scandinavia that I thought had possibilities. It was lonely and bleak and maybe a bit too depressing. I found myself being TOO accurate. It reminded me of a Bergman film.

Then, after doing the wild, expressionist portrait using colors and distortions I would normally never use, I looked again at this painting and wondered. It was either experiment or toss it out. The time had come to cut my losses of the failed art and concentrate on the paintings that had possibilities.

"Stairway To Heaven," version 2

What, you ask, does it mean? I grabbed a palette knife and putting the paint directly on it, began from the grass line that met the sky and worked a yellow green down. Then one after another color was added...Indian Yellow, Lavender, Napthol Red, Sap Green, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue and unbleached Titanium White. Between dirty brushes softening some areas, a comb giving textures to others step by step I built up the ground until it became a cacophony of color and light! It begs us to climb that hill. The cross beckons across the darkening sky. As opposed to the loneliness and near desertion of the original, the vivid colors of the revised painting become joyful, estatic. An evangelical would know exactly what I mean. You have the feeling that you could look at it a 100 times and find something new to consider.

The new color palette is shocking, brilliantly so. It would take a special buyer and a collector used to seeing and enjoying this use of a color palette. 

I ask the question yet again, can we make different choices? At the beginning of each work of art there are so many possibilities. The problem is choosing the one that most closely mirrors what we see in minds eye. Does that leave room for error? Of course. Probably some of the most breathtaking breakthroughs in art were happy accidents. Unless you are willing to try and try again, you as an artist will never know. This past week certainly taught me that lesson all over again.

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