Memory Painting ~ Stimulates Unison Head & Heart

Memory Painting

We live in a visual world. Visual images draw heart-felt responses. Without words or thought, the process is instantaneous. Heart beats faster, pulse quickens.

Figline Valdarno, version 1
Figline Valdarno, version 1

Yet we are taught not to trust it. Stop and think, consider all other alternatives. Question everything. In the process of due diligence, hearts disconnect.

The purpose of art is to reconnect head and heart. When the two work in unison, conflict dissolves. This painting is a tiny, yet perfect example. My first try at it, I labored to make it “true” to what I saw with my eyes. Not satisfied I took another stab.

Painting back into it I forgot about trying to make it look like something important and accurate. Instead I painted my “memory” of the landscape. The “real” landscape I had seen became merely my jumping off point for an opportunity to wander around in my imagination. Folly? Unproductive? A waste of time?

My heart’s colors spilled onto the painting. Acceptance of the way it is, in that singular moment, a precious experience of head and heart in unison. Though a short duration of 15 minutes, the experience fulfills something extremely important to any human being.

To be accepted for all that I am and all that I am not, in any single moment of the day, is a special gift I can give myself. One which helps me be there for my friends and family in ways I never could.

Memory painting
Figline Valdarno (Final Version), oil on panel, 5 x 7

Daily Paintings

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Heart of Tuscany

Settling into a slower lifestyle here, I find myself fermenting images the way they do grapes. Rather than rushing around like a banshee with a plein air paint brush, I am letting images distill in my memory.

Some sink to the bottom, others float. Of the floaters, when I begin to taste one by memory, it’s time to paint. I napped for three days waiting. This is one that floated.

Heart of Tuscany
Val d’Orcia, oil, 11 x 14

Val d’Orcia is know as the heart of Tuscany. Sprawling expansive hills spread out as far as one can see, serpentine threads of cypress . A dream woke me to the realization that my painting is centered on color, abstract shapes juxtaposed.

This image’s abstract geometric structure seemed the perfect  opportunity to divorce myself from the responsibility of rendering a realistic landscape. Engaged in an invigorating game, color play like a game of checkers. If the sky is lavender the field is yellow, its compliment.

Within that, brilliant translucent yellow counters warm pinks. Lime green glows in the shadows against the same translucent warm yellow.  The game continues.

Warm purples counter warm yellow lights between the line of trees. Depth and playful light go hand in hand. Deep cool green shadows counter-balance tall cypress. Stop before freshness disappears.

I rather like that I think I see a human form in the landscape. Arms outstretched, legs and feet standing ~ or lying out in the landscape. That would be me.