Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Its My Party

Almost Home 2007
5 x 6
Private Collection

It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
You would cry too if it happened to you

Leslie Gore, 1963

A couple of weeks ago someone said to me "All your paintings are dark. Are you a dark person?" I laughed and explained that my work involves a range of values that are sometimes, but not always, at the darker end of the value scale. But, it got me to thinking.

For most of my life, I have been "fixer". If a problem or unhappy situation arose, I would almost immediately begin to work on how I could "solve" the problem - how I could fix it. One of the hardest lessons I've had to learn in life is that some problems can't be solved, some loss cannot be recovered, and some mistakes cannot be undone. But, thankfully, I also learned that living fully meant allowing feelings of grief, or doubt and loss. And, perhaps most importantly, to use those feelings, as well as joy and wonder, as raw materials for creative work. Those darker feelings add texture, depth and counterpoint to our lives and to our work as artists. Andrew Wyeth said that he was just a "clever watercolorist", until the death of his father. He used that tragic event to find himself as an artist, to allow his most deeply felt ideas and emotions to come to the surface in his work. In my own case, the landscape seems to tap into a reservoir of feelings and ideas- awe, wonder, joy, mystery, loss, longing. I need every single one of them to do the work I was meant to do.


Casey Klahn said...

Now this song will be in my head - thanks for that!

I see deep, not dark. One needs to look at more art before one says that an art is "dark" - my opinion.

AW is much on my mind, lately, so this story is evocative. Thanks for sharing that.

Deborah Paris said...

Hi Casey. The song has been spinning around in my head for weeks now- sorry 'bout that! I'm glad you liked the AW reference.

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog recently and love it. Your painting appear dark on the web but I imagine that in person they are luminous. They evoke emotion and that's what great art does. Don't change!

Nancy Moskovitz, artist said...

Deep is the perfect word..ever thoughtful. You write as beautifully as you paint

Deborah Paris said...

Thank you Diane and welcome!

Hi Nancy- what a lovely compliment. Thank you!

Jala Pfaff said...

Lovely work, and sentiment too.

TSL said...

I think your paintings are incredibly beautiful, such a lovely niche I can always count on when coming to your blog. I never considered you a dark individual. Intuitively connected to nature and nature's time clock, yes, but not dark. I enjoyed what you wrote so wonderfully. I also apprecite the reminder of Andrew Wyeth. Having lost my father a year ago in April, I am still reeling a bit artistically by it, and still feel a bit lost when it comes to my paintings. Hopefully that, too, shall pass.

Deborah Paris said...

Thank you Jala and thank you for visiting!

Thank you for that lovely description Tina- I can't say how much I appreciate your words! I can tell you from experience the feeling of loss does not pass but the sense of direction is regained.

Anonymous said...

I've long admired the way you relate colors to each other to create moods.
There's no connotation of anything negative in dark or moody.
I'd agree totally that there's a depth in your work and not a darkness.
And the mood is contemplative and not sullen.
Your paintings are lovely and serene and your writings are equally so.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your statements. I don't believe "closure" really exists. We are from time to time haunted by memories wheather they are good or bad.
Your painting is wonderful! reminisent of John Francis Murphy and Bruce Crane. Emotions , a landscape of the heart and mind. Please visit my website, www.thegildedage.biz Your art deserves the enhancement of my product.

Deborah Paris said...

Hi Bonnie.Thank you very much for your kind words about my work. I particularly appreciate your use of the word "contemplative"- that's something I always hope to achieve.

Hi Nancy. I do agree with you about the closure thing-I don't think we can try our lives up in neat little packages- as much as we might like to. Thanks for visiting!

Jennifer Bellinger said...

Beautiful thoughts Deobrah. I see deep colors in your paintings, too, not dark. I am especially drawn to your negative shapes, how the lights beautifully describe the tree shapes. I have been following your work for some time and have tagged you! Please visit my blog for details.