Do Paintings Talk to Each Other When No One Is Around?
Paintings are inanimate objects I know. But sometimes lying in bed at night I think I almost hear some whispering downstairs in my studio.
Making paintings is like nurturing your houseplants as it can't be rushed. You have to take as long as needed to complete a painting.
Above is my studio this morning with the two easels I always have
side by side. On the right is Turret House, Nyack, oil on panel, 9 x 12 inches. It was begun in 2015. I worked on it on and off until summer of 2020 when I was finally satisfied it was saying what it needed to say. The painting's sort of a proud veteran who went through lots of changes before it was done.
On the left is a new oil that's just getting started. It has an even longer history- it's based on a tiny oil I painted on the coast of Maine in 2009. Still in its infancy this new oil faces growing pains and uncertainties before it comes into its own. I know I'm projecting but I imagine a painting at this stage would be feeling uncertain and tentative.
I originally placed the Turret House up on the easel just so I could enjoy looking at it. But then I felt like leaving it there for awhile.
Having that finished oil up there puts some extra wind in my sails. It reminds me I had patiently navigated its path to becoming a very successful painting. You have to work your way forward with each new piece, earning the confidence that your vision is true and insightful.
I have this fantasy that late at night the finished painting is like a kindly aunt or uncle who quietly reassures and encourages the painting that's in progress. If that's what the whispering is about I'm all for it.