As many readers who follow this blog know, for years I have been making abstract paintings on paper in a very small-sized format, about 15 by 11 inches. But in 2014 I began to combine photographs with paintings. These are a little bigger; 19" x 13". This began with what some of my friends have referred to as the 'Africa Series.' (See the earlier post here called, 'Sierra Leone, West Africa, 1974). They employ mostly black and white negatives that I printed 'full-frame.' That means no editing of the overall image or change in proportion. I also endeavored to interfere minimally with the condition of the negatives or slides. If one had a really bad scratch, as 'City Hotel' in Freetown did, well, it just got left in as part of the work.
|City Hotel, Freetown, Sierra Leone|
The principle that has not changed is the one central to them all - that every painting remains faithful to its subject.
|Northern Light / Gleam|
A brief note on paintings titled Köln I and Köln II:
In 1982 I was having dinner in Cologne (Köln), Germany with the late, noted architect OM Ungers and his family. He took us to a very traditional local restaurant for dinner. The place was so local that one item on the dessert menu was called, "Cologne Caviar." In fact, it was actually a plate of blutwurst - their beloved blood sausage!
Over coffee I asked Mr. Ungers if he could think of any architectural treasures that must be seen before leaving town. He immediately began to draw a sketch on a coaster. He talked enthusiastically while he sketched one of the Roman-influenced columns at St Mary's Chapel in the Old Town. These are the columns shown in the above paintings. He especially loved the transition from round to square at the top; the elegance and simplicity. On the following day I found the Chapel and took this photo. OM was right. They are lovely.
A personal note regarding today, 9 February 2015:
Since the creation of this art / design blog in 2012, I have had 9,999 'page views' to date from dozens of countries all over the World. Perhaps as I am typing this it will go to 10,000. To me it is nothing short of a miracle that this is possible - that people not just in the USA but also in the Philippines, Ukraine, Turkey, Hong Kong, France, Vietnam and elsewhere can read what a guy in a Sharon, CT basement is saying and displaying.
My grandmother, Bernice Rockwell Peck, was born in 1898 in Olean, NY. Her father had a small, somewhat primitive one-man farm. She left home to study watercolor and painting at Pratt in New York City during WWI. Her first job after finishing school was teaching art at the Port Chester, NY high school between the world wars. If she were alive today I wonder what she would make of what her grandson does and of the 'cyber' communications world that we all now routinely take for granted.