Sunday, October 26, 2014

A MEDITATION ON TURQUOISE

Today I read this passage from nature writer Ellen Meloy in her book The Anthropology of Turquoise.  These words reminded me so much of a painting I created in 2009 inspired not of the desert sky of which she was speaking in her eloquent essay but by the sky and water intersection off the coast of Washington state.  Ellen's writing is new for me, but just in the first essay of the book I feel an affinity to her perceptions and the language she uses to describe the spirit of the landscape.

...On the desert horizon at dusk, where red rock meet lapis sky, at the seam of the union, runs a band of turquoise, recumbent upon the land's great darkness.  This color is transient.  Before night falls, blue-green is the last quantum of visible light to pass through the atmosphere without scattering.  It can draw a person right down to the skin of the world.  The tidal pull of light can shape an entire life. Every heart-warmed pulse of blood and breath.
This painting originally inspired by these words from Rilke, which also speak of transience.

It seems
our own impermanence is concealed from us.
The trees stand firm, the houses we live in
are still there. We alone
flow past it all, an exchange of air.

Everything conspires to silence us,
partly with shame,
partly with unspeakable hope.

From the Second Duino Elegy

Silenced with unspeakable hope, 2009, private collection

Friday, September 19, 2014

Pentimenti and My Painting Process


presence of absence, 30 x 30 inches, oil on canvas painting, Sharon Kingston



This abstract painting is ripe with with pentimenti--meaning the underlayers and marks that show through subsequent layers.  This effect is hard to photograph because it is not high contrast, yet ever so important to the experience of the painting and the sentiment I tried to evoke.  There is a richness of depth to take in, if you can get the viewer to stop skimming the surface for just one minute.  There is a sense of water and fluidity and just a suggestion of landscape.  And there is warmth.  None of these things will be gotten from a social site post or pin.  Like most art, it is a need to see in person kind of painting.

This painting is from my Presence of Absence series and newly completed this week.  I encourage you to read the poem to understand why having those revealing-by-concealing forms are so relevant.

To Lou Andreas-Salomé, Duino, late autumn, 1911

Memory is not enough...
I do not recollect. What I am
is alive in me because of you. I do not reinvent you
at sadly cooled-off places you have left behind.
Even your absence is filled
with your warmth and is more real
than your not-existing. Longing often meanders
into vagueness. Why should I throw myself away
when something in you may be
touching me, very lightly, like moonlight
on a window seat.


Rainer Rilke - Uncollected Poems

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Memory and Creative Work



meanderings of a longing, 24 x 30 inches, oil on canvas
presence of absence, 30 x 30 inches, oil on canvas

memory is not enough, 24 x 24 inches, oil on paper
memory is not enough II,  24 x 24 inches oil on paper
memory of moonlight II, 12 x 16 inches, oil on canvas
memory of moonlight I, 12 x 12 inches, oil on canvas



"Psychologists believe that our capacity for creative work hinges on our memory and the ability to draw on our mental catalog of remembered experiences and ideas. More than that, memory is our lifeline to our own selves. Indeed, can there be anything more central to identity than memory?"

~brainpickings

These paintings were driven by words from Rilke referencing memory (the September 13 entry in a Year with Rilke translations by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows).  These words were written in letter form to Lou Andreas-Salome from Rilke in 1911 as what I interpret to be a lament on a lost love, a lost presence.  The sentiment felt right for my situation and the changing of the season.  Folded into and inspiring my work this week were also the full moon, the anniversary of Sept 11, the warmth of an Indian Summer, late works by Joan Mitchell.
Over the course of the week I started thinking about memory as a presence of absence--maybe of my former self. Aging has that affect on a person.  This morning I read in Brain Pickings the statement of memory as a lifeline to our own selves and it became apparent that memory could in fact act as a means to infuse my work with a lyrical blend of looking inward and outward to help me find my way in the now.

The work I made is different.  No horizon line.  No somber contemplation.  More warmth.  More evanescence.  More movement.  More mark making. Yet still, the aura of atmosphere.


Here are the words from Rilke:

Memory is not enough...
I do not recollect. What I am
is alive in me because of you. I do not reinvent you
at sadly cooled-off places you have left behind.
Even your absence is filled
with your warmth and is more real
than your not-existing. Longing often meanders
into vagueness. Why should I throw myself away
when something in you may be
touching me, very lightly, like moonlight
on a window seat.

Friday, August 15, 2014

My Yearnings. My Reality.

I continue to mull over what I want my next group of paintings to carry within them.  I continue to be influenced by this statement from Richter--primarily because I feel that the two arenas I've been operating in, abstraction and atmospheric landscape, are poised to collide...

"If I were to express it somewhat informally, I would say that the landscapes are a type of yearning, a yearning for a whole and simple life. A little nostalgic. The abstract works are my presence, my reality, my problems, my difficulties and contradictions. They are very topical for me."

and I wonder, can these ideas exist together?  Can they merge on one canvas?  Yearnings/Reality  Static/Active  Nostalgic/Now

I'm sensing a closeness in defining the intention of my new work knowing that I wish to maintain my desire to create spaces of contemplation, and from that point I can move onto method and means.  Of course all this thinking has to end and I'll have to just get down to work and see where it all goes.

Some more thoughts, for today, and a painting that carries a measure of the essence I'm striving for in it.

  • Painting-as- poetry of a feeling-infused landscape. 
  • Complex visions of a simple elemental nature. 
  • The logic of nature translated to the abstract. 
  • Open ended to reflect a place to grapple with uncertainty. 
  • Abstraction, evocation, space and paint.
  • And, as Suzanne just so eloquently said, "A Silence at the Center of All Things".

Reconciling the ill-matched threads, oil on canvas, Sharon Kingston  60 x 72 inches


ART, INTENT and BEAUTY

There are three writings which have been relevant to my art practice over the past few weeks.  Collectively, they relate to intention, I believe.  Also beauty.  Possibility.  Creating spaces.  Contradictions.

The words are written by or about artists I greatly respect.  Rothko. Richter. Lavadour.

I am keeping these words in mind as I struggle to find my way in this river of infinite possibilities.

From James Lavadour:

Painting is not about making pictures. It’s about jumping into the great unknown and bringing back things you’ve never seen before that are good to look at. And those good things are uplifting. Every little discovery is uplifting. The whole purpose of painting, for me, is to uplift the spirit, make you feel good, give you something that is good to look at and informative of some unknown thing that you never considered before. ~from James Lavadour explains being, painting nature in the Missoulian

About Mark Rothko

They painted with a different intention in mind.  Rothko, for example, he uses thinning and grading of color to create an illusion of space, which is not simultaneously negated--as it is with you (referring to Richter)--but really represents depth, mist, shimmering, transcendence.  And then, in Rothko's work, colour combination is an important element: that is, two or at most three shades or colour values are juxtaposed in a very precisely calculated, differentiated way, so that the combination generates a particular colour harmony, which is then supposed to produce a specific emotional effect. ~from Interview with Benjamin H.D.Buchloh, 1986 in Gerhard Richter Writings

From Gerhard Richter

...landscapes or still-lifes I paint in between the abstract works; they constitute about one-tenth of my production.  On the one hand they are useful, because I like to work from nature - although I do use a photograph - because I think that any detail from nature has a logic I would like to see in abstraction as well.  On the other hand, painting from nature or painting still-lifes is a sort of diversion; creates a balance.  If I were to express it somewhat informally, I would say that the landscapes are a type of yearning, a yearning for a whole and simple life.  A little nostalgic.  The abstract works are my presence, my reality, my problems, my difficulties and contradictions.  They are very topical for me. ~interview with Dorothea Dietrich, 1985 in Gerhard Richter Writings

River of infinite possibilities, 24 x 24 inches, oil on canvas, Sharon Kingston

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Pink and Blush Colored Paintings

I've been a bit obsessed with the color pink--which is not a good thing when it comes to the likelihood of a painting having universal appeal--much less commercial appeal.  It is common knowledge among artists that pink paintings don't sell. Just look in any artists' closet.

And, I don't care.  I use pink because it signifies softness and the feminine.  Because I'm trying to express mood without "mood".  Because there is a lightness about pink which is uplifting.  Because pink--the lighter blush shade of pink--is a quiet, calming color.  Because pink is fleshy and emotional and human. 

I feel like I'm on a mission lately. To show how pink works in your home spaces.  And how my pink paintings say a lot with very little.

To see my pink mood board on Pinterest, visit here: 

Pink Painting in a Blush Interior, A place where no word has ever entered


Blush colored painting by Sharon Kingston, Sensing a softness touching the earth

Pink waterfall atmosphere titled After

A blush atmospheric painting by Sharon Kingston


Monday, July 28, 2014

Beyond the Borders of our Intuition

Just thinking about these words from Rilke and this painting today.

Consider whether great changes have not happened deep inside your being in times when you were sad...If only we could see a little farther than our knowledge reaches and a little beyond the borders of our intuition, we might perhaps bear our sorrows more trustingly than we do our joys.  For they are the moments when something new enters us, something unknown.  Our feelings grow mute in shy embarrassment, they take a step back, a stillness arises, and the new thing, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it all and says nothing.

Intuition's Border, 18 x 18 inches, oil on canvas, Sharon Kingston