Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Happy New Year!

M gave me this fantastic book for Christmas:
Wayne Thiebaud - A Paintings Retrospective. Thiebaud has been one of my painting heroes for quite some time now, but as I drool over this book, I admire him more and more.

I have been taking time to see art in person. I recently have gotten the chance to see Diebenkorn's Berkley Years at the Palm Springs Art Museum as well as a very exciting trip to Los Angeles to see MOCA. Let me just say that the permanent collection at MOCA is really something else. It would be hard to make a list of all of the works of art that I saw - all I can do is tell you about the main highlights for me. Oh, the Giacometti sculptures! Oh, an Agnes Martin right next to Cy Twombly! OOOOoooo...look at the David Smith! And then there was the effect the Rothko room had on me. I walked in and was overcome. Tears in my eyes, I felt almost like I couldn't breathe. Or maybe that I no longer had to...

Now, for all of you who pooh pooh Rothko, I am just going to say that I once felt the way you did. I once saw a Rothko painting in a book and thought, "what is all the hoopla about this painting?" I even saw one small Rothko painting in a museum once and felt the same way. But that was before I was really painting in earnest. It was also before I saw a really large Rothko in person. The thing that can never ever be explained about a Rothko painting is the presence, the physical quality it has in person. The velvety color, so deep you feel like you could dive into it. The monumental size of some of them, especially when there are several grouped together, like in that room at MOCA, also adds something to the effect they have on a sensitive person. All I can say is that I am really happy I got the opportunity to see that. (Kudos and thanks to M and C for going with me, and to M for driving in the terrifying LA traffic.)

I have to say, for someone who didn't get to visit many art museums as a child, I am happy that I have been given opportunities to make up for some of that as an adult.

Here I am, trying my best to be near Rothko. No photo will ever do this painting justice.

It is important to feed your creative spirit. That is what I have been doing. Seeing other artist's work. Visiting friends. We even got to go to a place that was wet and green over the holidays! Hopefully, all of this re-fueling will pay off in the studio.

Stay tuned for new work, opportunities to see my work in person, and an upcoming online class! Here's a teaser: the class is a painting class called "Using non-representational art to find your voice as a painter." It will be coming this spring! It's a two week class, so if you think you might be interested, let me know. (Thank you, to those of you who already have!)

(This is the blog post that took two weeks to write. I am recovering from a cold, but there really is no good excuse.)

These are Thiebaud's words, but they are precisely how I feel:

"People say painting's dead. Fine. It's dead for you. I don't care. Painting is alive for me. Painting is life for me."

Wishing you all the best for 2014, my dear readers!


pRiyA said...

These pictures are beautiful. I especially like the moss-covered tree with those branches criss-crossing each other.
I am not surprised you like Wayne Thiebaud, from whatever little I can make out from the pixels on my screen, the style of your paintings, especially the erasers seem much influenced by his.
I would love to see a Rothko in real life. It much be so much more intense to experience.

Kathryn Hansen said...

i've loved Thiebauds work ever since i saw a show of his in Chicago a super long time ago! did you get to LACMA for the Turrell show?

Karine Swenson said...

Priya, Thank you for your kind words about my photos. I hope someday you DO get to see a Rothko in person. It is unforgettable.

Kathryn, we did not make it to LACMA. We had reached our point of saturation after MOCA, unfortunately. Have you seen it?

Patty said...

What a great post Karine! It's always a joy to know what goes on in your world.
We drove 6 hours recently to see Edgar Payne's work in person...I still smile about that. You're right, no book or web page can ever do them justice.

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Annie said...

Wonderful post. I once stood in front of a Picasso in New York with tears streaming down my face, and it was one that did nothing for me in photos. Art is magical like that :-).
Happy New Year! xoxo