Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New Direction

I have been painting for many years now and I wanted to start moving beyond just pieces that were beauty for beauty's sake. I am sure it has to do with getting older. I notice the temporary or transitory nature of things. It seems melancholy but it is the most real thing there is. We are only here a little while.
Hurricane Katrina came ashore near Waveland, MS. I wanted to see it right after, but only managed to get there 5 years later. Last summer, coming back from Denver, I stopped by. It was early in the morning, just as the sun was rising. It was dead calm. I made my way directly to the beach and as I got closer the homes began to disappear. On the shoreline, where once many large and beautiful mansions sat, now appeared to be a park. Nature had taken back the land. It was extraordinary. My painting is looking east. The gulf is on the right. The beach line had clearly been altered and a temporary road through the sand was made. On the left there was only a few signs of what once was, in terms of people. The trees mostly survived the storm and were thick. Grasses were tall and lush. It really did look natural. Nature does what it does. It doesn't know we are there and doesn't care.Without the human markers its not really a disaster at all. And yet there were many signs along the road we were moving back in, although slowly.
My first notion, in terms of a painting, in human terms, was to make the tragic look beautiful. Retain the idea of a Hudson River School painting. Have all of those elements there. I think I did that. But make it clear life is temporary. We are always in transition of some kind. The painting has a driveway, broken docks leading out into the gulf, and a fence from a prior home. There is a Port a potty that represents that lack of permanence. Seems to me a perfect object for that. The streetlights represent time for me. Time is something I think about alot. There is no past. There is no future. There is only the present. Now. Everything exits in the present. The past exists only in our memory. Regardless of age, all things are in the present. The universe does not keep time. It just is.

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