forest painting

as usual port2port inspires me to take an idea that i have been churning over in my head to the blog…

i’m trying to wrap my brain around symbolism and how i use it to build a fluent painting. how symbols represent my language and i feel i can still only ask: where is bathroom? and, please croissant want.

my friend debbie (pictured in the previous post) shared her notes from reading the theorist susan langer. she writes of symbolism & meaning as it relates to art and how we intuitively use symbols to reflect our world that is meaningful to us. therefore our symbols equal our art vocabulary and we need to invent adequate symbolism to be able to say all that we want to say! my goal is to be fluent in painting. taking it a step further what do our personal inventive symbols say in a wider cultural context?

an inventory of symbols i currently use:
ice cream carts

(all the same shape)

funny russian hats

awkward poses
warped perspective
flattening of space

what do these express for me? the ice cream carts are complicated. i was telling my bff bekah that they seem to represent poignant sadness to me because i am projecting my own sadness of how it would be as an often older immigrant who maybe had another more esteemed life in mexico and now is selling googly eyed ice cream (just one perspective i realize, maybe the ice cream cart guy is having the time of his life being outside all day eating ice cream). another is birds which are “so trendy”, but they are also a mainstay in our lives, especially if you are urban and they are the only animals you might see.

above is a painting taken from little bits of my inspiration wire. some more directly than others. i see a camilla influence in it, the clouds are directly borrowed from a wood print, also represented and translated for me is a photo of my dad who died when i was a baby, building our driftwood home in the forest of nova scotia. i think here the painting is about how i put my personal meaning mixed with formal beauty of color and shape. i think my strongest, most fluent, paintings are when i connect my heart, head and hand.

the one to the left is my alter-ego uncle floyd’s, which i had to discontinue in the blog life because i felt guilty about tricking his audience. i do like the idea of taking on a different persona and seeing what kind of art you create. how does it liberate you? in my case i drew from the angle of a cranky old bird watcher who hated graffitti (my opposite), but still i am the filter, so my drawings/symbols still have me as the anchor. my friend christina took on a persona of this woman martina who was a crazy british inventor and made art from that perspective! who would you be?

the next painting is just started and some of the influences lay in the books below of folk art, tim biskup and jim houser. i learned from my inspirational teacher jason jagel that it’s important to allow yourself to copy your influences repeatedly until you find where they end and you begin and what is the common language that you are trying to speak. this clearly does not mean plagarizing, but it means become a kid again and copy that drawing of minnie mouse and blow it up big, real small, or take her ears and make it something else. it’s how we learn and our common language.