Sunday, December 9, 2012

Two Calls, Two Painters, Two Reasons

Philip Guston, The Line, 1978. 

1st Call

I called a friend and fellow painter whose New York gallery was greatly affected by Hurricane Sandy. He had just received over 30 images of his damaged paintings. As he narrated the scene in which the paintings were found, and described the paintings' conditions (as it was narrated to him), I imagined the paintings as dead animals. 

He told me these losses made him think about the countless summers in his studio, painting his life away.  "And when I realized it was October," he said.  

Without those paintings, what value do those summers have? 

2nd Call

I received an unexpected call from a painter who left our graduate program after a year. I remember our constant complaining about how we felt like we had to explain everything we painted. She told me about her married life and how she didn't have "a love affair" with NYC--her new place of residence. 

She also told me she went to museums and she wanted to get back to painting. She said, "One day, I told myself, I am going to Michael's and get some supplies and then I will go to Trader Joe's and buy a flower to paint a still life...but then I started to think about what it meant to do that." After a brief pause she continued, "But I don't have to explain what my paintings are about. I can just make them." 

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