When I first made the connection between sky and the vast unsayable of Rilke’s words, I studied the works and writings of English painter John Constable. Constable executed hundreds of studies of the sky near his home and frequently recorded the weather conditions that accompanied a particular sketch. The looseness of the sketches is what attrached me to Constable’s work and the statement that he considered the sky the chief organ of sentiment in his paintings. I kept this idea with me over the years as I executed my own sky studies and Reading Rilke paintings. Sky watchers love to see shapes and objects in clouds–I like to express emotion and the ineffable through clouds. This everyday object which constantly reshapes itself–the best symbol of impermanence I can find–is also a subject with soft edges and transparency of color which offers me a means to represent space, mass and mood. I never tire of them.
I’ve painted clouds when I’ve wanted to express a particular sentiment–to put into a composition a mood with color and form. I’ve painted release and accumulation. I’ve painted a letting go. And so, for an upcoming exhibit I’m going to put together works that reflect the “sentimentality” of the sky, abstracted and painted in my particular way. Mood paintings of a nature.
Organs of Sentiment will open March 2 at Seattle’s Fountainhead Gallery.