The fog suite paintings

The idea for my first series of paintings for 2021 came about when cleaning up my studio at the end of last year. I was filing away piles of source materials that had gathered on every surface and while doing that setting aside what caught my eye. One of those things was a print out of Mark Doty's poem 'fog suite' and another was a color chart of Benjamin Moore's trends for 2021. And those two things, combined with reflecting on some of the work I did over the past year that really resonated with me set me on the path of fog suites.


I began by crafting a color story (the Benjamin Moore color attached to a poem), assembling many fog landscape references, gathering up all my surfaces that I'd stockpiled and then building 5 suites of paintings. Each suite shares a size and some landscape sensibilities. There are 12 paintings total.


Now that I've painted and explored the beautiful and nuanced light of the visible uncertainty that is fog I'll be sharing more about each individual painting here in this blog. And very much realizing how this weather phenomenon seems ever so relevant and true to the atmosphere of our current existence.


The paintings, although created in suites, will be sold individually.


“Fog Suite”


1. A FIVE-PANELED SCREEN


Fog-lacquered,

varnished in thin

pearl glaze,


the high dunes unfold,

a smudged sketch

for a folding screen,


panels inlaid

with cloudy ivory,

irregular patches


of grassy jade.

(The wide bay’s

oddly still this morning,


despite the white activity

at its edges, just beyond the shore’s

a huge, silvered-equipoise.)


The fog is thinking

of burning away, but for now


damp scarves

(unhemmed, like petals

of a white peony)


slide and tear

across this portion

of sky, sheets


of smudged paper

hung from heaven.

Trope on trope!


What I’m trying to do

is fix this impossible

shift and flux, and say


how this fog-fired

green’s intensified

by sunlight filtered


through the atmosphere’s

wet linens—a green

you could almost drink!


No trick of light

I’m talking about

but defiant otherness:


this sky’s all

gorgeous trouble,

rain beginning


to fold the screen away.

Do we love more

what we can’t sat


As if what we wanted

were to be brought

that much closer


to word’s failure,

where desire begins?


2.


What I love about language

is what I love about fog:

what comes between us and things

grants them their shine. Take,


for instance, the estuary,

raised to a higher power

by airy sun-struck voile:

gunmetal cove and glittered bar


hung on the rim of the sky

like palaces in Tibet—

white buildings unreachable, dreamed and held


at just that perfect distance:

the world’s lustered by the veil.


3.


Or else I love fog

because it shows the world

as page, where much

has been written, and much erased.


Clapboards lose their boundaries,

and phantoms of summer’s roses


loom like parade floats lost at sea.

Is that what it is,


visible uncertainty?

This evening the thin fact of it

appears a little at a time,

shawling streetlamps,


veiling the heights:

clocktower and steeple gone


in roiling insubstantiality.

I take fog as evidence,


a demonstration of the nothing

(or the nothing much)


that holds the world in place

—rehearsal for our roles


as billow and shroud, drift

and cloud and vanishing act?


And, between these figuring lines,

white space, without which


who could read? Every poem’s

half erased. I’m not afraid,


if feels like home here,

held—like any line of text—


by the white margins

of a ghost’s embrace. ”


–Mark Doty






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    SHARON KINGSTON