You Can’t Keep ‘Em out of the House

Windows frame scenes. They provide stops to whatever is outside. The canvas painting traditionally is a window to the world. We live surrounded by, encompassed by windows. We wash them, or wish they were washed. We watch who goes by and who’s coming up the walk. They protect us from the elements while allowing us to feel like participants, safely and warmly watching the hail stones.

Except — in my house, what is outside feels like it might be coming in. As I move around, the scene changes, the firethorn advances where it wasn’t before, the transient disappears and then when I cross the room, reappears. The forsythia can’t be contained by the puny resources of wooden frames.

And so, I am embarked on some studies of what I think of as the “permeability of space.” Nice art-speak phrase, which simply means that at times, the world outside becomes the world inside, regardless of my backing away from this peculiar vision.

I did a very bad painting — the first one — trying to think about this invasion (the last blog showed one other but it was very tame): this one is bad, but not tame:

It’s about 10 x 10 inches, acrylic on canvas paper, a nasty sort of support, which is appropriate. But I’m quite fond of that front window with its larger center field flanked by the two traditional ones on either side. It will appear again. I really gave up on this, in part because the support isn’t worth mucking more with. I got the idea down and then could deal with it.

So then, I was in the studio (rather than in the house with the elegant front window) and decided to try again.

The figure in front is a nice small sculptural piece I got as a present from Jan and/or Sam. The fence behind the window stays where it belongs. But the bush, some kind of weedy boxwood, overgrown and bumptious, won’t behave itself at all. Again, this isn’t a wonderful painting, smaller than the previous one (maybe 6 x 8″) but getting somewhere closer to what I am perceiving out of the corner of my eye. These are studies, trial runs, playing around, getting organized, slowly.

I have done two more (in addition to the big moon, which, if you may have noticed, also incorporates that front window that I’m fond of). It’s more fanciful, of course, than these, although there is something wonderfully freaky about the tidiness of the window surrounds and the untidiness of nature which refuses to behave. –June

This entry was posted in Art, painting, Permeable scenes, southeast Portland, Studio and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to You Can’t Keep ‘Em out of the House

  1. Reva Basch says:

    I love what you’re doing with these paintings; they capture something about the invasiveness of green and growing things, especially in this town.


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