On Painting “Gracefully”

“Point Lobos Environs”
oil on linen panel, 8″ x 10″
Someone (Connie in the Comment Section) recently mentioned that my paintings were becoming more “graceful.”

I was taken aback by that comment because it says so much without saying anything. I had to think about it and wondered what she meant, exactly. It seems it was a supreme compliment because it suggested growth of an unnamable sort. But let me see if I can connect my painting process thoughts with what she meant . . . .

This painting may or may not reach that quality, but there are aspects that point to what I think she means. For example, the gesture is used instead of the description. The green bushes in the foreground are but mere brush marks instead of well defined “bushes” . . . . . . . .those marks suggest without calling attention. The foreground field is more of a shape of a variety of similar valued tones . . . .there is a sense of something growing there without saying it directly. (at least I hoped for that!) And the rocks at the edge of the water at the ‘island’ really are not painted

r-o-c-k-s. They are just somewhat less than haphazard brush strokes that imply the presence of rocks. Is that what she meant? Is she saying I am getting closer, but not there yet? Or, is that my own thinking?

I find myself bridling my impulses . . . .holding back from making illustrations of some “thing” . . . . . .I want to leave something to the imagination and not be explicit. What I seek is to offer the viewer an opportunity to have a visual conversation with the painting. Conversation? The viewer will look at the painting which offers a hint of something, the viewer asks, the painting answers . . . . and so on. It is that quality that I seek . . .for the painting to be engaging to the viewer. And to do it by implication not replication.

Do you suppose that is what she meant by ‘graceful?’

One thought on “On Painting “Gracefully””

  1. I believe that one definition of “graceful” in this sense would be the apparent ease with which shapes and objects fit together on the surface of the support…no unintended clash between shape, line, edge, or color. Ah….”harmony” may be the matching term I’m searching for.
    I believe it is all this plus what you said concerning engaging the viewer.

    That’s just my 2 cents worth.

    Dean

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