Thanks to all who have responded to the surveys! The photo-producing machine will begin soon - and in the near future I shall be in touch with each of you personally. Especially those who have yet to respond!
At first, and for a time into this project, I fully intended to do Turner’s Tate paintings in chronological order. I’m not sure why this seemed important, but if my psychic distress from going against this self-imposed protocol is any indication, I attached real importance to it—somehow or other.
Now, I’m pretty much accustomed to choosing the day’s work arbitrarily. How much do I have to finish? Am I psyched to focus on complexity, or do I just want to flow with my brushes? The answers to these kinds of questions determine what I do in many cases at this juncture.
Thus, when I had fallen behind recently, I looked at the massive, free-form, clearly abstract compositions that are among the final outpourings of Turner’s oeuvre. Three of these—“Fall of Avalanche in Grisons (c. 1810),” “Mountain Landscape (c. 1840),” & “Norhan Castle (c. 1840)”—were what I completed in less than two days, helping me to catch up from a position of backlog and the tongue-lashings that result from a certain onlooking spousal unit if I’m being slow.
Not only did the sense of abstraction and freely applied paint make speed a more credible goal, but also the manual dexterities involved fit what I needed. After days of details, holding onto multiple brushes and squinting to insure that I matched all sorts of different brush-strokes and closely-rendered intimacies, I was finally free! One or two broad and soft brushes let me slap on the oils with colorful abandon.
I’m not sure that I even come close to approximating Turner’s results, but viewers can almost certainly see the smile inherent in what I finished here. I actually found myself giggling on several occasions, like a marathon runner might experience a sense of mirth at an opportunity merely to amble through he woods.
In actuality, each of these three pieces was an unfinished initiation, in watercolors, of underpaintings for later compositions that matched Turner’s capacity for creative rendering of reality. Of course, they are deemed precious now as indicative of Turner’s turn, as it were, toward impressionistic abstraction. I, of course, differed a bit in my approach, using thick brushstrokes as opposed to his watered-down creation, and adding a bit of something extra when the result proved too dull otherwise.
My husband suggests that in this apparently freely proffered contradiction lurks an MFA project in my future. Hypothesizing that other artists, near the ends of their creative journeys here on our planetary home, also had unfinished works, he sees the opportunity for Alicia to serve as a nexus of completion.
In this view, I would not seek to ‘do as Turner might have,’ or anything of the sort. Instead, I would take these beginnings as evidence of the world’s fecundity, which I would bring to a more completed state of fruition somehow. I’m not certain that I’ll ever engage this, but it’s certainly an interesting concept.
Am linking up to Sunday Sketches with the lovely Sophia & a large group of artists - feel free to check out what they do!