Day 6. Taxing, Tearing, Tugging at Art

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Advice to a Friend Who Paints 

by Kelly Cherry

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.

Today’s painting is a continuation of yesterday’s. Like days 1 and 2, they are meant to be companion pieces although, now that I look at them side by side, I’m not sure they would work right next to one another. Perhaps a vertical display rather than horizontal.

abstract blue horizontal                              abstract blue vertical (1)

Yesterday I was thinking about water, about Alice Walker’s poem. But I was also thinking of a few other poems, including the one above. Even though I don’t really believe it, I still have this idea in my head that my abstracts aren’t as valuable as my other paintings. I did these two quickly. They came together without a ton of “taxing and tearing.” Instead of rejoicing, I got discouraged: it can’t be good if it came so quickly. If I didn’t want to pull all my hair out halfway through.

But I’ve painted a lot– there have been many, many abstracts I’ve thrown away or painted on top of. There have been many that took more time than I could possibly account for. Maybe the hours I put into those contributed to the ease with which I painted these. And maybe I just enjoyed it– the colors, the freedom, the paint. My love of poetry, of color, of “man”.

Relax. That was my mantra in these paintings. Deep breath. Water. Love of the world in which we live.

Picture of Denise Hopkins

Denise Hopkins

January 6, 2016

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