Friday, March 9, 2012

What it's about

"They Danced." Oil on Canvas, 20 x 16 inches. ©2012 Karine Swenson
I am sorry that I don't have my video of the library talk up on the internet yet. I have been distracted by other things this week, and to be perfectly honest, I do not have the technical know-how required to do it myself. Don't worry, I have a team of experts working on it now, and it is only because of their knowledge and kindness that I even have a video of my talk. (A big HUGE thank you to Marjorie Franklin and Alex Prisadsky!!! Thank you a thousand times!)

I have been asked by Patty to tell you what this new series of paintings was inspired by. So I will give it my best effort. This new batch of paintings was a direct result of my ongoing awareness that certain things in life (maybe most things) cannot be controlled by me. I have my desires and goals, and things that I want to have happen.  I think we all have that. Life has a way of taking over, and going in directions I didn't plan for. Things happen that I didn't want. (Husbands get a job working overseas, for example. Or people get sick. Or I get sick...etc.) I know that the only thing I can really control is how I react to what happens. Since art is life, I decided I wanted to find a way to deal with this topic in my art. With these new paintings, I do not have a plan when I start painting. Well, I don't with my other paintings either, but I am not even trying to push these in a certain direction, as I may have done with my earlier work. I simply take the brush or knife in my hand and say to myself "just paint." I just paint. I make every effort not to judge what happens. I want to have the painting lead me. I guess I am trying to let go. 

If I have spent a long day working on a painting, I set it out where I can see it. I like it to sit where I can see it while doing dishes or eating or cooking. I look at it and decide if I like what I see. This process can be a matter of minutes, hours or days. If I don't like what I see, I take it back into the studio, and work on it again. I work in the same way - "just paint." But I don't try to cover up or erase everything that was there before, necessarily. I try to make use of it. Perhaps a bit of blue pokes out from underneath. Or a little shape that was there before isn't entirely covered. This is a progression, where the history becomes part of the finished work. I think this is like life. There may be things in our past that we don't like. Things we wish we could cover up. But those things remain a part of us, ultimately. 

So there you have it. This is the new series. 

"To talk about painting is not only difficult, but perhaps pointless too. You can only express in words what words are capable of expressing." -Gerhard Richter


pRiyA said...

It seems we are all going through similar things in our own different ways. And as you said, the thing is to let with painting, so with life. You seem to have the right attitude though and that helps enormously. I'm trying to acquire that myself.
I like the quote at the end of this post. It perfectly encompases what you are trying to say.

Patty said...

Karine, these new paintings are exquisite and personal. Thanks for sharing this part of you. It takes courage to share that which is beyond words.