Coffee with David & Robert Motherwell


Any painter knows that empty space is his most powerful artistic weapon., if he can adequately animate it. The void need not be terrifying. 

Robert Motherwell, “Kafka’s Visual Recoil: A Note”

When the afternoon shadows stretch long across my back yard, and I finally submit that final grade, capping a day-long stretch at my desk, I am happy to know that I have an entire week before I will have to grade another college paper. I did not post a “morning coffee” blog today, because I decided from the moment I rose from my bed that I would make grading my number one priority, and it took most of the day to accomplish it. But now I am happy to sit at the desk, and spend some delicious time reading from my three-volume Catalogue Raisonné of Robert Motherwell, a retirement gift I gave myself last year when I finally hung up my high school teaching tenure.

The quote posted above has captured my attention, because I have returned in my own painting to compositional “vignettes”, paintings that open empty spaces around the perimeter of the picture plane, rather than covering every square inch of the surface with color or detail. I recall Andrew Wyeth saying that the strength of a composition lay not in what an artist put into it, but what he could get away with leaving out. I am seeking more ways of creating those types of watercolor.

I am getting ready to re-enter my studio this evening, very happy that my chores have been swept away and I don’t have to think about them for awhile.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.


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