Thursday, October 18, 2007


I've started painting again.

This may seem an odd statement from someone who was born and bred a painter but, to me, it's a major event. You see, I am an unfaithful painter, one who is so sure that the daemon is hers forever that she imagines it can safely be kept on a shelf while she gallivants around. Long-term co-habiting with artist's books, printmaking, murals, writing, teaching, illustration, comics, digital art, blogging - not to mention flirtations with anything that moves: animation, juggling, dancing, photography, technology etc. have all managed to separate me from my one true love. While it's quite nice to be a Jackie of all trades, it has to be said that, in art, fidelity is where it's at. You have to turn your back on something in order to face what's directly in front of you. That's what painting is to me: the thrill of re-discovering what's in front of my eyes. The miracle of things seen as if for the first time, simply opening the eyes and letting the mystery flood in. It's love, mindfulness, meditation, satori, entering through the eyes and emerging from the hand holding the brush. The task is to maintain this state of miraculous awareness and that's not easy. You have to choose what to focus on, ignoring the temptation to record everything slavishly. As soon as you start copying all that the eyes perceive, the mystery vanishes and painting becomes a chore, a duty, a bore.

Above is the first state of a large-ish (80 x 81 cm) painting I started yesterday, two apples in conversation. I'm using only grey and white (grisaille) as an underpainting then will move on to oil colours. Will post further stages. I'm so excited.


Joel said...

I am trying to think of a bad joke about pears and coupling, but I just can't make it work....

I was feeling estranged from my photography. Went on a trip to Arizona for nine days. At first, I had a hard time ~seeing~, at least not in the way that I liked to see. The pictures that worked were stereotypical, "classic", and to me, dull.

But as I shot more and more -- getting used to the dimensions of my new camera's frame -- I began to find the kind of images that made me happy. I call them "fragments" -- the world done in pieces.

I need another vacation, I think, to work deeper.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Hi Joel, good to see you here. I know what you mean about "not seeing the way you want to see". That happens a lot when I'm painting, then I have to stop and wait until the real seeing begins. Good luck!