04 February 2021

The compression of Cézanne while the Past and Future plays in the mud

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 30 January, 2021, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

This came out of a session last week. It seems quite modern to me compared with the five paintings I posted just the other day. For the most part, they were paintings from a memory of paintings past, at least four of them anyway. And I admit this with full knowledge of the immense pleasure I took in making them.

I am so comfortable working now that I don’t even criticise my own work as it comes out of the oven. I let them come out and play like a well-adjusted parent watching her own children quietly from the kitchen, no worry or drama.

In the same way I allow these images to come forth without judgement nor bitter self-recriminations as I work. But this was never the case for most of my life. It is a new phenomenon.

So this picture was painted on the beach, a great big red and violet cloud bank sitting upon a rectangle of sea. Higher above, layers of yellow and pale Prussian blue stripes seem to be glued onto the canvas board like a collage. It is decidedly a flat painting, all its elements compressed into one plane. I like this aspect because it reminds me of Cézanne, the compression of Cézanne, even though it has little else of Cézanne in it.

Like all of these paintings it was taken from Nature, it was not done in a studio. And yet it reminds me of pictures I have seen over the past 80 years which were made in Expressionist studio settings far away from the a beach. 

I am also happy with it because it reveals to me something from my own future. It happens sometimes as the steady work piles up and I can see patterns which seem to zig-zag through Time. The past shows up a lot in these paintings because that is the nature of my own memory of art history and Painting. But just as surprising, the future also appears to pop out of the blue, suddenly, like a robin sitting in the snow, just like this. 


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