Watching Abstract Compositions Emerge from Nature

Working tonight on ideas for the Laguna Madre excursion

Working tonight on ideas for the Laguna Madre excursion

Albrecht Dürer, did after all make the well-known remark: “For in truth, art lies hidden within nature; he who can wrest it from her, has it.” “Wrest” here means to draw out the rift and to draw the design with the drawing-pen on the drawing-board.” . . . True, there lies hidden in nature a rift-design, a measure and a boundary and, tied to it, a capacity for bringing forth—that is, art.

Martin Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art”

The French mathematician Poincaré said, “Thought is only a flash between two long nights.” Artists work by these flashes of thought . . . 

Robert Motherwell

From the time school dismissed today, I have been unable to leave this drafting table. Having finally rested my body from the lengthy weekend travels, I was surprised today to be visited with surges of ideas related to my upcoming sojourn at the Laguna Madre. Gazing into the computer screen at photos I took on Saturday, I was surprised to see a myriad of compositional images emerge for paintings of the wild landscape that surrounded me. As a plein air painter, the most difficult task I always faced was selecting from the complex scene before me the necessary objects to construct a painting. But in my former plein air days, I often resorted to architecture to provide a focal point for the composition. I never knew what to do with raw landscape. Today, I saw patterns emerge as I looked at broad swaths of land and gulf waters. And with those patterns came new ideas for future paintings.

It seems timely that I had the movie playing on DVD “A Beautiful Mind.” About the time that I noticed patterns standing out from the landscape and seascape photos I had taken, John Nash was standing before a great wall of numbers, and certain numerical sequences were appearing before his eye, thus forming patterns across the wall. This immediately led me to pull my volumes of Heidegger and Motherwell off the shelves and begin looking. It did not take long to find the passages posted above.

I am choosing not to post the stack of compositional sketches that immediately followed, because I am already trying to organize material for my university one-man show that follows the Artist in Residence period this summer. But that is what chewed up the rest of my afternoon and evening–a stack of compositional sketches, abstracts, and notes that I now believe will serve as a sturdy architecture for the paintings that develop when I am back on location.

This has been truly a delicious experience, as I enjoyed the stories of John Nash being played out on TV, as well as the film documentary “Jean Michelle-Basquiat: Radiant Child.” Both men and their stories fed my imagination as I worked on this project.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

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