Thursday, August 27, 2015

That Old Barn, and Thoughts on Abstraction

That Old Barn
Oil on canvas, 16x16

During the summer, I ran out of paintings between shows in the Midwest. I'd thought (I'd hoped) this might happen, and I'd known I would have some time, so I brought canvases and paint with me, and as I drove, I looked - as I always do - for landscapes that touched my soul. 

I found this one in Iowa. I could see it from the highway, but it took some figuring to find it. Lots of times, I see a beautiful scene from the highway, but when I go looking for it, it turns out to be the back field of a farm, private and unreachable. 

This was a hot July day, with a little wind, and high, thin clouds. No one drove by during the hours that I pained. The barn was old and rickety, full of holes that the sun shone through. I really liked he couple that bought this painting - and the very first 10x10 in the 100 Cubed project! They live in West Virginia, have a cool dog, and loved my paintings. 

Abstract paintings are making their presence felt in my life. Peter has been making abstract paintings on the computer, my friend and collector Kathryn has been experimenting, and I've become friends with a lovely Connecticut woman who makes lots of abstract paintings, too.

I have made a few abstract paintings, and I am interested in them. A few days ago, I had the beginning of what might be understanding.

It occurred to me that a good representational painting shows the outsides of things, and implies or hints at the insides. By "insides," I mean structure, or architecture, or even soul.

A good abstract painting, I think, shows the insides of things - and implies the outsides.

A bad representational painting fails to contain any thought of the insides, and a bad abstract painting fails to contain any though of the outsides.

Does this make sense to anyone?

Dog of the Day

Met this dog at the show in Ann Arbor. She was a great old girl! 

A Final Thought

"To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it." 
- Kurt Vonnegut


Denise Aumick said...

Carrie...nice thoughts on a difference between realism and abstraction painting. I paint abstracts. I paint them because - at times - the results thrill and intrigue me. "Now where did THAT mark, color, idea come from???" When one of my abstract paintings calls to a viewer I feel as if we've connected on a deeper plane since these paintings are intuitively created. I do chuckle to myself when people innocently say they could paint abstracts without ever having tried. Interesting abstract work can be deceptively hard to create.

carrie jacobson said...

Thanks so much for your note, Denise. I suspect there's no harder challenge in painting than to make a good abstract painting. I think that when they work, they are miraculous!

Unknown said...

Hmmm, interesting thoughts to ponder! And certainly expresses what's so compelling about so many paintings, including this one of the old barn - it DOES hint at what's to be found inside: possibly wonderful old things forgotten in storage, and at the very least, cool darkness on a hot summer's day!

carrie jacobson said...

Thanks, Ellen. I'm glad you find this painting, and my sketchy thoughts, interesting and compelling. Much to ponder! I come out of the fog in paintings sometimes with answers or questions or just the sense of time passing.