April 18, 2014

A World of Blue

This is the ninth in a series of posts taking you back through a history of my work, from its very realistic roots and on to my abstracts (see previous posts Why Aren’t My Paintings PRETTY For God’s Sake , So You Think Artists Are Lazy?, Stripped Down and Broken Open: Giving Birth to Art , Of Transitions and the Place Between, An Uncomfortable But Compelling Push-Pull, New Mexico Isn’t for Sissies,  The Dark Horse Series and The Art of Becoming). This exploration was spurred on by a reader’s question about my process and inspiration, particularly of my New Mexico horse abstracts. Little did she or I know what her simple query was about to open. I hope you all are enjoying this art journey into the past as much as I am. It is showing me, for the first time, the trajectory of my work, and is going a long way toward pointing me to future paintings.

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A World of Blue

I was living in a pale blue world. Snow covered the ground and the shadows cast on its surface offered up just about every shade imaginable. Then there was the sunlit sky of day with its blue and white clouds. Even the night’s sky had pale blue halos around the stars and the moon. The acequias froze over ice blue, yet still flowed beneath… pale blue everywhere.

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And I was painting in the old adobe church gallery at the beginning of my shared gallery experience with Anna (see previous post The Old Adobe Church, the Wolf and Survival). The whitewashed walls glowed blue. Even the air I breathed seemed blue. And then there was Anna’s painting, New Mexico Sky, hanging on the wall just in front of my easel, all silver blue and white. This is where and when my Blue Series was born. A small series, just three paintings, it remains one of my favorites. I feel the works shifted the tenor of my horse paintings entirely, bringing them into the light.

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Here is the inspiration for Blue 1, my lovely herd at home on the llano. That’s Davida in the front…

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… and this is the finished Blue 1. Notice the horses’ legs and the fence posts becoming one…

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Here is the inspiration for Blue 2...

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… and the completed Blue 2 with its added sense of grasses rising up out of the snow and a strong horizon line. This is an enduring favorite of mine and, in fact, along with the above piece, initiated the use of smoother plaster, rather than the highly textured surfaces of previous works. And it was in this painting that I consciously made the thinly sliced vertical cuts into the plaster, a process I’m exploring to this day:

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I couldn’t find the shot I worked with on Blue 3 but I remember it. It was a picture of Davida, still small, standing behind her mama. I’m sure you can picture it.

Here is Blue 3, its fence posts, legs and grasses all merged together with the horses:

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Some would argue that abstract art should never spring from reality, that the forms used, in fact, should not represent anything. But I believe two things about this: 1. There should be no rules in art because, as Kandinsky said, “… art is free,” and 2. Abstraction can just as well be about abstracted reality as simple color, shape, light and texture. I don’t think the added possibility of recognizable shapes makes them any less about painting. In fact, if an agreed upon canon for abstract art ever exists (and I pray God it never does) I believe abstracted reality should be an integral part of it.

Here is the inspiration for Place, one in another small series. Bear in mind that, by now, I am painting my combined feelings of horses, fences, the land, and the mystery of New Mexico:

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This is Place…

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… and as it was originally exhibited, along with Blue 1 and Blue 3, at Hand Artes Gallery (see previous post Disparate Pieces) here in Truchas:

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This is Morning

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… as displayed at Hand Artes…

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… and Ground

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Snow Light (have any of you seen this, how the snow lights up the night?)

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… and several of my styles displayed together in the church…

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… and at the corner gallery before the Anna Karin Gallery moved to its current location.

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And, finally, the photos that inspired the last horse paintings I’ve done to date. The first two were shot by my dear friend, Kathy, and the last is mine:

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From the above photos I came back to the blues and created three sets of triptychs that are at their best when stacked like this (sadly, most of them sold as individual pieces). These paintings are also some of my favorites:

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On Friday I’ll be wrapping up this series of posts about the history of my painting, ending with the story of fences and horses and grasses and how they changed me. Until then…

Love to you all,

Jeane


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