The Big Soup and The Abstract Painter

There are many times when painting is very much like putting a ladle into “the big soup” of life and seeing what pops up.

By “the big soup” we refer to a rich mix of memories, word associations, visual images both consciously observed and subconsciously observed, snippets of poetry, road signs, names of places visited in life and nearly everything else.

big soup abstract paintingIn addition, the big soup also refers to:

  • tastes
  • textures
  • the memory of both, and
  • the myriad unexpected combinations of forms in space — moving and still.

Some forms are observed in real time and space. Some forms arrive in dreams.

jackson pollock abstract painting Autumn Rhythms 1950

The soup differs for each individual.

For me, the pot gets bigger and broader and deeper as the years go by and I see more and experience more in life. Both large events and the simplest of daily pleasures and activities broaden the pot. The soup of life is everything and nearly nothing at all.

The soup of life can be the remembered shape of a childhood toy or the profile of an Egyptian Pharaoh glimpsed out to the corner of one’s eye, passing through a museum in New York. It can be the blue green shadow surrounding a tropical plant or the edge of a table as the sun dips low in the evening sky.

An abstract painter like me plays with forms in space. Some paintings have more forms, others more space.

Gary Komarin, Dirty White Palermo 2015

Sometimes space and forms arrive in equal amounts. Neither is better or worse than the other.

The space of a painting can be vast or it can be close at hand. A shallow space may sit right up against the plane of the canvas. In contrast, a deep, deep space moves far, far away from the eye of the mind.


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