Large & Small

I have long wondered why some artists -whether they be painters, sculptors, photographers, or conceptual artists- choose to work large or small or perhaps somewhere in between. Some of the considerations for working large have to do with physical mechanics and how one navigates the space of a painting. Some artists use ladders or long handled brushes to make the painting itself. There are also issues of moving large artworks around from one corner of the studio to another or storing large scale works. Painting a large painting can be terrifically liberating. It might allow the artist to open up the space of a painting in a way that a small scale piece might not. Working large could encourage a wider arc, a bigger brushstroke or greater stretches of colour. On the other hand, a large painting could be intimidating and can start to feel like being swallowed up by the enormous and cavernous space. Painting a large painting can be terrifically liberating. It might allow the artist to open up the space of a painting in a way that a small scale piece might not. Working large could encourage a wider arc, a bigger brushstroke or greater stretches of colour. On the other hand, a large painting could be intimidating and can start to feel like being swallowed up by the enormous and cavernous space. Working small scale for a painter could allow for great intimacy. One can see the entire canvas in one breath and navigate the surface in minutes rather than hours. A smaller scale canvas can allow for the artist to see the whole and...

Synchronicities and Correspondence between paintings of Grandma Moses and Fairfield Porter

While gallery hopping recently in New York City , I happened upon some wonderful paintings by the great American master and ” Outsider” Folk artist, Grandma Moses. Grandma Moses was born as Anna Mary Robertson in Greenwich, New York in 1860. She starting to paint in her late 70’s and lived to be 101 years of age. Grandma Moses painted till the end of her days. Her paintings featured elemental and charming scenes, depicting simple country pleasures, and modest well articulated landscapes. She painted barn raisings, wooden carts crossing fields, grazing farm animals, and old white frame houses sitting in the early morning light. While looking at the art of Grandma Moses, it occurred to me how very much her paintings looked in spirit- and even form- like the landscapes and still life paintings of Fairfield Porter. Fairfield Porter was born in 1907 in Winnetka, Illinois and studied at Harvard, later entering the New York School art scene and producing representational art during the height of Abstract Expressionism. Porter’s art was both heartfelt and simple, depicting scenes of domesticity. Porter was fond of painting dappled lawns where the sun breaks through the trees and throws a pitter patter of small organic shapes on deep green lawns. Both artists painted white open farmhouses with front porches and shadows cast by large oak trees, painting the true American landscape. While Grandma Moses yielded a smaller brush and worked in a more detailed fashion, her appetite and love for the simple chores of life, the beauty of farms and villages and the charms  of a cloud about to nestle over a church...
Unexpected Color And Surfaces In The Bahamas

Unexpected Color And Surfaces In The Bahamas

I am back from ten glorious days on a teeny tiny island floating in the Bahamas. The island, with its exquisite blue green waters, pink sandy beaches and swaying palm trees, provided me with a great deal of calm in a tumultuous world. I breathed in with the ocean and gazed up at the deep blue sky. Curiously, a great deal of the local architecture has remains unchanged over the past decades. Like Havana and Cuba you can see white washed walls and beautifully repainted sides of buildings and doors where color comes thru color, much like an abstract painting. There are stone walls that wrap around churches, painted a deep yellow or azure blue. These walls at time are pockmarked in quite beautiful and unexpected ways. They reminded me of the surfaces of paintings by Jean Dubuffet and the arte povera movement in Italy in the mid ’30’s. There are also sections of curved walls where a top layer is painted a different color than the remaining wall. A lime green atop a rich grey, or a deep cerulean blue atop a swath of whitewashed wall. Much of this reminded me of the cakes that I make, as one color sits atop another in unexpected combinations. On the faces of many buildings are doors, either beautifully faded or painted a deep dark red or lemon yellow creating an unintended richness. An abstract painting, whether by Komarin or Matisse, where color is applied over other color, scraped down and repainted: all of this appeared around nearly every turn in the road. I could imagine Vincent Van Gogh, walking these streets, corncob pipe puffing away looking at this magnificence...