Wednesday, December 25, 2013

On to Painting

Back in September at the launching point of these Notes I mentioned that the Dogtown poems and paintings of Marsden Hartley propelled me to get to know Halibut Point, and that I would start with the camera "while other aesthetic capabilities took their time to surface." You have accompanied me as I set out to write. Now, on to painting.

During the fall I enrolled in an art class with Carla Mattioli at the Rockport Senior Center. We explored watercolors and pastel drawing. Here are a few of my paintings. Carla's next session starts January 7. I've signed up again. Come join the fun!
Carla started each class with an evocative reading. From The Way of Chinese Painting by Mai-mai Sze: "The rocks are the roots of the clouds."

This phrase brought out other insights for Carla. Combining dissimilar elements such as clouds and rocks can strengthen the essential portrayal of each. In combination the clouds become more ethereal and the rocks become more massive.
Carla emphasizes that the road to creativity lies in repetition. "You only get freer as you practice more. Rooting - the rocks - is the practice; clouds are the flow that opens up from the discipline."

Carla structures the class in a sequence of earth, water, air, and warmth. She de-emphasizes 'motif,' or subject matter. She has found this approach a relief to many people who are reticent about trying to reproduce scenes. Her primary focus is on awakening to color.

I found the quality of warmth especially fascinating, a choice to be pursued in relation to its opposite, coolness, each available to convey a mood and to contrast with the other. I've begun to notice its function in writing also. It's there for all the arts, for movement, as well as for other relationships.

More than anything, painting takes a lot of looking. When it gets too intense or frustrating I have to remember to breathe, take a walk, be grateful. After all, it's magic. Life appears on the page.
"The class is a place to have your self-confidence increased. We develop positive feedback in looking at each other's work. I've seen students enjoy art more, their seeing of Nature shifting, creating more, which is a great joy." - Carla Mattioli

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