Sunday, June 21, 2009
But wait! Theres more!
I absolutely love this Carlson painting. The gray and slightly umber tonality is really beautiful. Its unusual in that so many are built around a Prussian blue chord and this one is not.The color in this painting reminds me of Mulhaupt. I guess I need to do a Mulhaupt post too, don't I. There is so much to write!
A lot of pictures I see today are just too happy. I go into galleries and there are all of these happy, happy paintings. Its like a five year olds birthday party! Are we painting for crows, who snap only at shiny bits of tinsel and bright scraps of discarded candy wrappers? There is a strength and dignity in a picture like this, that gives expression to an emotion much deeper than the painted bon-bons we throw as chum before the decorating housewives. I think when this was made, people were far more accepting of a broader range of possible moods in a painting. If I took a painting like this to a dealer today, they might ask me to put some children playing with balloons in it.
Take a second a look at this one. Its an example of a different sort of Carlson painting. If you give it a minute, I think it will grow on you. It has his characteristic unique shapes. I have painted subjects like this and they are hard to do. he has dealt with the gray day and the industrial subject by pushing his key up and presenting it in that yellow and silver color scheme. Maybe this is not as fine a Carlson as some we have seen, but he has successfully dealt with a very difficult painting problem.
Here is one from Jefforsonville, Vermont. It was painted in a place called, fittingly enough, Pleasant Valley. I know where this location is and I have painted very near it. That is Mount Mansfield in the background. On the other side of Mansfield is the ski area, Stowe. There are lots of paintings from this valley by Hibbard and Gruppe. It is still a great place to paint, however like so many other places, I don't think it will stay unspoiled for long. The dairy industry is dying and the farms will eventually be broken up and sold as lots . I have written before about the passing of historic New England here.
Notice how forcefully Carlson drives the viewer back into his painting. The log in the foreground points you to the snow dusted, and furrowed fields that take you up onto the side of the mountain. Then there is an S curve switchback that takes you the rest of the way up, until you hit that lighted area at the top as a reward for all of that following. It is perhaps a little heavy handed, but I think that forgivable because of how stylish this painting is. Running that mountain so far up towards the top of the canvas to make it look huge is reminiscent of Edgar Payne. You said you were reading his book didn't you?
This one is all full of funky shapes and bracketed by forms shoved up against the sides of the canvas. If you squint at it you will see that Carlson has connected all of his darks. remember I wrote about that here. This blog, like Topsey, just growed, and some of you are new to it. Unlike a book, where the author can assume the reader picks it up and begins at the beginning, you readers are parachuting in anywhere you damn well please. So I am going to make an effort to link back to posts that relate to what I am discussing.
I think this one is nice, it has a real rhythmic design that almost seems to wiggle as you watch it. That kind of rhythm imparts a cheerful air to a painting. The grays and the russets in the background also form a major key color chord. This painting reminds me of an excited puppy that runs up to you wagging its tail so frantically that its whole body is in motion. This is not a terribly naturalistic painting though. If you are looking for high realism, this ain't your dog.
This one is in the Carlson book, but of course in black and white. Notice how each of the apertures between the trees is of a totally different area and shape. No two are even slightly alike. That is an excellent and difficult piece of design. Might I add:
NOTHING GOOD GETS INTO A PICTURE BY ACCIDENT!
I still have enough Carlson images left to do one more post.