A doorway in Rome, Italy
Painting has always been my own particular potential. For 30 years, I lived for painting, obsessed with it. When I was not painting I was daydreaming about images, composing them in my head. I painted all the time, alongside cooking the meals, helping the kids with their homework and during our constant moves from one country to another. To sleep among my paintings was beautiful, so I could see them first thing as I woke up.
The porch at my old house in Washington, D.C.
Everything about painting excited me: The smell of turpentine. Forming the shapes on the canvas bit by bit. The triumph of finishing a painting, and hanging it on a wall. Seeing it becoming infused with the life I gave it and then giving it a name.
"Private Pleasures", at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.
I am a realist painter. I paint what interests me. Everyday objects. People. Interiors. Landscapes. Fruits and vegetables. Beautiful things and scary thoughts. Every painting is my composition of photo images from many different places and times, and persistent thoughts that result in a different story for each viewer. I love letting people tell stories to themselves.
Mint tea on a Portuguese verandah.
In the 80’s and 90’s realist painting was unfashionable. If you painted beautiful objects, you were labeled square, conventional and traditional by critics who wanted to see the abstract or the outrageous. The public was told to believe that “art” was only far out and extreme forms – and done by artists that the critics approved. Yes, art, like all culture, is also political. But not everyone follows what critics recommend. Nearly every painting I did was bought almost before it was finished.
Several reflections of my daughter.
It takes me a long time to complete a painting. I have never been able to do more than about 12 large paintings a year. The image of what I want to do usually forms slowly in my mind – often over months or years. But sometimes it bursts out fully developed like Zeus from the head of Athena. When the images are clear, I sketch the thinnest of lines on the canvas, notations only. Color is my guide. The images take shape with paint and color. If there is a central figure, I paint that face first. If I get it right, I know the rest of the painting will fall into place. Weeks later, when I am finishing the last details of the painting and cannot bear to be in front of it any longer, the release of completing it is total. I have been called an aesthete. So be it. I always thought that if I could add a touch of beauty to the world – and still touch on every story -- what was wrong with hat?
A chapel window in Sintra, Portugal.
The above is a reflection on my very first entry when I started blogging in June. Now I’m back in the studio, sorting out my next painting, so I wanted to show you some earlier ones.
An old coach entrance to a building in Madrid.
But the other reason for bringing up painting is that I decided to recognize some of the very talented people I have come across in the three months I have been blogging. I call this recognition “Moonlight”. I have been puzzling about the image and here is the final result of a number of sketches.
Moonlight in this case represents the glorious brain-sharpening, mood-enhancing experience one feels when reading or seeing something inspirational in other blogs. Something that sets the tone for the rest of your day, puts a smile on your face, stimulates your work, or makes you feels awesome about life. It is not often one feels wonderful. But some days, some blogs do just that.
I want to give “moonlights” to all the special blogs I encounter.
There are no obligations attached to the recognition. But if you feel like it, you can pass it on to whoever has also given you that something special, what in Spanish they call “eso”, or “it”. Whatever “it” is that lifts your spirits and helps you to up your mental game.
”Moonlights” go to three talented artists I very much admire.
These “moonlights” go to wonderful photographers:
“Moonlights” for wonderful people with a lot of pluck:
“Moonlights” for blogs that delight me:
In the future I will be handing out more “moonlights” to other bloggers who inspire me.