Pearls from artists* # 555
Studio view showing some tools of the trade
*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Rembrandt and Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Gauguin, possessed, I believe, powerful hearts, not powerful wills. They loved the range of material they used, the work’s possibilities excited them; the field’s complexities fired their imaginations. The caring suggested the tasks; the tasks suggested the schedules. They learned their fields and then loved them. They worked, respectfully, out of their love and knowledge, and they produced complex bodies of work that endure. Then, and only then, the world maybe flapped at them
some sort of hat, which, if they were still living, they ignored as well as they could, to keep at their tasks.
Annie Dillard in The Abundance, quoted in The Marginalian by Maria Popova, November 23, 2022
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Pearls from artists* # 517
*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on
You know. Don, I was reading a book on the life of Van Gogh today. and I had to pause and think of that wonderful and persistent force – the creative urge. The creative urge was in this man who found himself so at odds with the world he lived in, and in spite of all the adversity, frustrations, rejections, and so forth – beautiful and living art came forth abundantly… If only he could be here today. Truth is indestructible. It seems history shows (and it’s the same way today) that the innovator is more often than not met with some degree of condemnation; usually according to the degree of his departure from the prevailing modes of expression or what have you. Change is always so hard to accept. We also see that these innovators always seek to revitalize, extend and reconstruct the status quo in their given fields, wherever it is needed. Quite often they are the rejects, outcasts, sub-citizens, etc. of the very societies to which they bring so much sustenance. Often they are people who endure great personal tragedy in their lives. Whatever the case, whether accepted or rejected, rich or poor, they are forever guided by that great and eternal constant – the creative urge. Let us cherish it and give all praise to God.
John Coltrane in Coltrane on Coltrane: The John Coltrane Interviews
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Pearls from artists* # 83
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
The world can make no response to meet art. Praise can miss the point as much as a casual remark such as I heard last night: an impeccably turned-out gentleman bounding up the stairs to the gallery exclaimed over his shoulder, “And now to see the minimalist – or maximalist!” He had all the relish of a casually greedy person with a tasty tidbit in view; he was on his way to gulp down my life with as little consideration as he would an artichoke heart.
Do I wish, can I afford, in my own limitations, to continue to make work that has such a high psychic cost and stands in jeopardy of being so met? Do I have a choice? I do not know. Neither whether I can further endure, nor whether I can stop. The work is preemptory. My life has led me to an impasse.
Anne Truitt in Turn: The Journal of an Artist
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Q: Another interesting series of yours that has impressed me is your recent “Black Paintings.” The pieces in this series are darker than the ones in “Domestic Threats.” You create an effective mix between the dark background and the few bright tones, which establish such a synergy rather than a contrast, and all the dark creates a prelude to light. It seems to reveal such a struggle, a deep tension, and intense emotions. Any comments on your choice of palette and how it has changed over time?
Posted by barbararachkoscoloreddust
West 29th Street studio
A: That is a great question!
You are correct that my palette has darkened. It’s partly from having lived in New York for so long. This is a generally dark city. We famously dress in black and the city in winter is mainly greys and browns.
Also, the “Black Paintings” are definitely post-9/11 work. My husband, Bryan, was tragically killed onboard the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. Losing Bryan was the biggest shock I ever have had to endure, made even harder because it came just 87 days after we had married. We had been together for 14 ½ years and in September 2001 were happier than we had ever been. He was killed so horribly and so senselessly. Post 9/11 was an extremely difficult, dark, and lonely time.
In the summer of 2002 I resumed making art, continuing to make “Domestic Threats” paintings. That series ran its course and ended in 2007. Around then I was feeling happier and had come to better terms with losing Bryan (it’s something I will never get over but dealing with loss does get easier with time). When I created the first “Black Paintings” I consciously viewed the background as literally, the very dark place that I was emerging from, exactly like the figures emerging in these paintings. The figures themselves are wildly colorful and full of life, so to speak, but that black background is always there.
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Posted in 2014, An Artist's Life, Art in general, Art Works in Progress, Black Paintings, Creative Process, Domestic Threats, Inspiration, Painting in General, Pastel Painting, Photography, Studio, Working methods
Comments Off on Q: Another interesting series of yours that has impressed me is your recent “Black Paintings.” The pieces in this series are darker than the ones in “Domestic Threats.” You create an effective mix between the dark background and the few bright tones, which establish such a synergy rather than a contrast, and all the dark creates a prelude to light. It seems to reveal such a struggle, a deep tension, and intense emotions. Any comments on your choice of palette and how it has changed over time?
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