Reflection, 6×6, oil on canvas SOLD
I’ve been painting a lot so I’ve been thinking about painting a lot. Worried that I paint too many pelicans. Worried I’m not contributing anything important to the world. Worried. When I was teaching creative writing to high school seniors, I made them read Kelly Cherry’s poem “Advice to a Friend who Paints,” and that poem has echoed in my mind off and on ever since. Good advice. Really good advice:
Advice to A Friend Who Paints
Consider shy Cezanne,
the lay of the land he loved,
its dumbstruck vanity polite and brute.
The bather in his sketchy suit.
The skull upon the mute pull of cloth.
In your taxing and tearing, tugging at art,
consider shy Cezanne.
His blushing apples.
His love of man.
– Kelly Cherry
My pelican paintings are becoming more abstracted. In this one I wanted sky and sea to run together and towards the end had the image of the sky crying into the water. If you look closely you can see little squarish brushstrokes falling down into the water. I love the power and grace in this pelican reflecting on the water, but probably unaware of her own presence.
And I’m okay (for now) loving my subject matter more than I love my own importance.