Maria Xagorari
15 Oct 06 by Maria Xagorari
Maria Xagorari artworks

Login to comment

D.N. The Gaze

The gaze. Body and Mind.

21 Jul 07 21:41

It’s interesting how close another artists work can become if one had the chance to know the personel she’s working with. Now, after the trapani experience it’s not just a face but that dear person whose name I always forgot :-)

13 Aug 07 19:41

My current studio is 3m by 3,5m. I know exactly what you mean...
I don't quite agree with the term "cartoony" about Adami. I think his lines are thoroughly studied and their precision serves specific expressive purposes. Tuymans' work is very interesting but I suspect his motives are different to mine. I will came back on this as soon as I get some time to sit down and wright in peace.

Syros is the capital of the Cyclades, south Aegean Sea.

31 Jan 08 19:12

hi
in this painting the high sensitivity make 3Dimension
I can to touch the lump do you try some day making sculpture beside painting,
also the looking is wonderful expression and turn me to ancient Greece

The Furries or The Step
The Furries or The Step
The Furries or The Step

The private chambers of the mind. I had been working on this for two years. At the begining it was a standing nude and I didn't quite know what it meant. The day it was finished, that is when I dressed it in this red skirt and painted the faces around it, I was in physical pain. I had had an operation that very morning. The moment I got her draped in red heavy velvet I knew exactly what this painting meant and much of my pain was carried away on tiny wings of tiny butterflies that flew out of my stomach.

30 Oct 07 15:21

A very powerful painting

Patience
Patience
Patience

Part of the Body project. My quest on how body parts can be as expressive as the gaze.

05 Feb 16 21:41

Lovely painting Maria... I'm so stupid not to have stated this before - I really don't know why I hadn't complimented you on it at the time, so please do excuse my late 10-year-and-more intervention. As you say, this view exclusively of the hands does seem to communicate so much of the mood of the person. I hadn't noticed either that it's such a big one - one metre square. The intimacy of the subject seems to beg for a small dimension, so it much be quite a surprising piece to see in real life. The fact that you chose to work in monochrome also, in my opinion, adds to the effect of this particular 'gaze'.
So where does it hang now?

07 Feb 16 10:52

Thank you JP. Last time I checked it was hanging in a home in Athens. I hope they still enjoy it. They had also bought a painting I considered rather difficult. "The Furries or The Step". I hope they still enjoy that one too.
I am doing rather different stuff now. As soon as i get a free moment, I will be glad to post some studiolog images.
I miss you all, guys...
(If Hillel is listening, I humbly apologise for my delayed answer. I will soon get back to you, my dear.)

Hands and Knees
Hands and Knees
Hands and Knees

One of the works I am still quite fond of, after two years.

10 Jan 07 18:52

I look at this and then my latest paintings and I get confused. Am I going the wrong way?

11 Jan 07 16:56

I like it. Sure its a little Freudian (Lucien that is) but in all honesty and of course this is only my opinion I prefer it to your more recent efforts which for me (although interesting) are a bit to photographic and static. This one although monochromatic seems to breathe more and feels looser. Was it fom a live model? I'm not sure.

11 Jan 07 16:59

Well, Maria, this is a question no one can answer but you.
Now and again one succeed in doing a very good painting. One that is more powerful or more beautiful or simply just better than all the other ones. These are solitaires in one’s oevre. Sometimes they are what I call key works that introduce a whole series.
Working on a series we automatically expect that this will enhance our understanding with every painting we add to it. So that in the end the last one will be the best one. But more often than not that’s not how it is.
In the last but one painting of the „At Arm’s Length“ series I had this moving hands I found so interesting that I decided to do a new series dedicated to motion (# 26 of my portfolio). So as usual I experimented with myself as a model for to find out what to do with an extern model. The painting that came out of this you find as # 27. But after having done 25 paintings with motion as a theme the first one still is the best in my opinion. Maybe one reason is that working with yourself as a model is much much easier than having another person. I understand perfectly what I want. With me I don’t have to argue. So when looking at the first „Motion“ painting I know exactly what you are talking about.

Yes and I also think that this painting is more interesting than the later ones. Maybe it’s the composition, the whole body, the special pose ... the story that emerges from it. Imagine what would be if you could see the gaze of that person as well. Maybe it’s a wrong idea to isolate a single eye for to show the gaze. Or to isolate a single hand for to show a gesture ... maybe ... maybe ... maybe

12 Jan 07 11:18

I am going through a little crisis here and your response is most valuable to me. Dear Hillel, it is not from a live model. It is from a photo I shot of a friend who poses for me. I can see what you mean by photographic and static in my later work. That is what drives me nuts and I had to ask if others saw it too. But I don’t think it has to do with my working with photographs. Or does it? I will upload some other older stuff done from a mirror so maybe I can beg you to share what you think with me. I haven’t worked from a live model since 2004 and maybe I should go back to it for a while. I can’t afford one though, so back to the mirror we go, which could save me from doing reclining nudes as well (I share Hanjo’s view on that).

It is true, I have always deep down expected to “enhance my understanding with every new painting”, Hanjo. Maybe it’s this idea of progress we have about life. That everything should proceed on a straight line. How wrong this is. Thank you for confirming it. But how frustrating can it be to see a year’s effort go down the bin. I am not sure I found your #26. I prefer your “At arm’s length” and AAL18 to the last painting with the model standing on its shoulder (I don’t remember the title). There seems to be some sort of intimacy in the paintings of yourself, which I have difficulty detecting in the paintings of a model. Here I would like to go to the story that emerges from paintings. Most of my paintings that seem to have some significant content are of myself or, at the most, of my best friend. That is, I find it hard to see expressive power (that can interest me) in bodies and faces of people I am not connected to in one way or another. Do you think this is just artistic weakness? Should an artist be able to draw inspiration out of almost anything, since, at the bottom line, the artwork has a life of its own, away from what motivated it?

And another thing; my mind has been full of concepts and stories and theories lately, which I try to put on canvas. A teacher of mine used to say he wasn’t sure he should lead us students to think too much. It took the life out of our work. But I am not a student any more. Some of my ideas are pushing hard to come to life but I don’t seem to succeed. Almost every painting that was done under this spirit came out dead. Like a printed illustration. Should I continue seeking the realization of these ideas or would it best to let things proceed on their own? Maybe nobody can answer this question. Maybe we all ask it to our selves. It has been very helpful to me though, trying to put it in words. So, my friends, allow this poor Greek chit-chat. Castaways talk too much when back in contact with civilisation.

12 Jan 07 13:55

Well, I am not into art theory. I am not into any theory at all. Theories are for philosophers or clerics or that kind of people. In the end theories are only expressable with words. They are made out of words and are dealing with terms and how to define them properly. We had that conceptualist theoretical kind of art for more than two decades and I think that is enough for a while. It only fed a rapidly growing body of clerics (the ones that tell you what’s good and what’s not) that took over the art world completely and left us artists as mere illustrators.

I mean as painters we deal with paint and what one can do with it. And while putting that paint on a canvas trying to make it look like the whatever model we learn to look more precisely than others do. You get a good understanding of an object you draw or paint. So the main thing is painting and looking at things, painting and looking again. Everything comes from this. In the end even theory. So if as a painter you do not rely on painting as the first thing you will get lost. In dealing with thoughts and words all those clerics are superior of you.

The other issue I want to talk about are these myths and rituals that are occupying our heads when it comes to art. One of them is the opinion that painting after a living model is better than painting after a photograph. That it is a question of honour to avoid taking a photograph as a model. That working after a sitter makes his or her portrair more true, deeper and more human etc. All this is rubbish. Painting after the living necessarily leads to these classical poses like those reclining nudes for no other pose can be hold that long. And painting portraits that precise as I do makes it necessary to look at the face very close with such scrutiny for a long time that would make every model panic within seconds. So when being interested not into mere beauty but into a human being you better have something as a model that is not dodging. The idea that it is more honourable taking all your information from a sitter instead of a photo and putting this information without the help of a raster directly on the canvas for me sounds like that it is more honourable to paint while doing a handstand or something like that. Well, We are artists not artistes.

Maria, I cannot tell you what to do. I am no teacher. The only thing I feel when looking at your recent paintings is as said before that taking your interest in gestures or gazes seriously you should avoid to show mere hands or eyes. A gesture as well as a gaze is connected to the body. It highlights or emphasizes what the body says as a whole. So don’t cut the expressions from their source.

12 Jan 07 19:04

Thank you Hanjo. You have helped me choose side in a conflict in my mind.

14 Jan 07 06:43

Maria, the reason I asked about whether or not you had worked from a photo was not from some kind of snobbery about painting from life being superior to painting from photos. As one who paints from available photographic imagery I would be the last one to denigrate such a practice which I view as merely another tool for the artist. This painting just seemed less photographic to me than the other work in your porfolio and that I said "I was unsure?" is a compliment. I'm not trying to confuse you in any way now that you've seemed to have resolved your "conflict" (not a bad thing for an artist and for the making of art).
I agree with most everthing you've said here Hanjo particularly that in the final analysis painting is just that "the application of paint on a two dimensional surface in a meaningful way". So its about seeing and thought and the breaking down of illusory three dimensionality into flat areas of colour or tone. How you do that and analyse and measure those things is what people call style and every artist that works honestly and diligently will discover their own unique measure and that's what people call an artist's signature style.
I think that for a young figurative artist, one in the process of finding their measure, working from life can be advantageous. The problem with photography at that stage is that the flattenning, intrinsic to the medium is done for you. Part of the process for the artist discovering his/her own measure has to be firstly the ability to see the world the way the eyes see it (two dimensionally) and not the way the brain perceives it (three dimensionally). A veteran artist like yourself Hanjo just didn't arrive at your present process without having gone through all these things. So I think for a younger artist its a good thing to do both. There are usually places to go where people for a small fee share a model and withstanding that there's always the whole still world around you. And why not let the beautiful light and colours of Greece enter your work.
Finally I don't know what makes great art anymore than anyone else does including the so called experts and theoreticians (your "clerics" Hanjo) because its such a complicated thing and yet also such a simple thing arising from a person's inner essense and need to express. Nether philosophy or science, there are no absolutes and proofs. Pollock and Warhol reside in the same museums as Rembrandt and El Greco and they're all called "great artists". Time and the consensus of the many will ultimately be the judge. So don't listen to me or anyone (that's the danger your teacher spoke of) just follow your heart and instincts.

14 Jan 07 13:03

Dear Hillel, I am sure it was a compliment, as I never doubted that you do not consider painting from photos inferior. Neither do I. For the history, I started using photos when I did my “Furies or The Step” and I needed a model for the main figure’s hand and the faces that emerge from the dark. I had the lack to study in a school where painting from live model was obligatory for the first three years, so I am aware of its importance for studying purposes. To add to what you said about the readymade “flattening” of a photo, I would like to say that vision, or visual perception if you like, is an interactive thing. When you intensely look at something (in nature) you discover new aspects of it at every glance. You feel the life in it (or is it the life in you?). Everything seems to constantly change as you touch and explore it with your gaze. There seems to be a pulse in things. You can find this in impressionist painting for example. The thing is whether the mere reproduction of this pulse is what one wants to be the actual content of one’s painting. Because there is a lot of “pulse” in Pollock as there is in Rembrandt or Matisse or Brancusi or Moore, just to name some rather different artists, only that there is also something more. What looking and looking again does for an artist is allow him/her to immerge in nature’s sea of visual forms, so that he can then create his own meaningful creatures.
In this process, two things can be confusing for a young artist. One is that an artist cannot be completely ignorant of what “clerics” have to say. Some of them do have significant things to say (even though this is just because artists did them first). The second is that the existing patrimony of meaningful forms is so immense. So sometimes a young artist commits the mistake of trying to form ideas first and images second. This leads nine times out of ten to a dead end. I can’t say I have resolved my conflict. It has been reminded to me though, that I have to be patient and paint as I feel like painting and if there can be some significance in my art, this will come in time and it will show on its own. I wish!

14 Jan 07 21:44

Its a classic conflict. Cezanne, as we know from his early work yearned to do passionate and expressive work with grand themes however its only when he reconciled himself to simpler aims did he achieve all that and more with a few simple apples yet I'm sure the conflict dogged him his whole life. In other words you have to be who you are.
Thanks Maria for your truly excellent response to my comment. By the way I just viewed your portfolio and see you've added some of the older work which I like very much. It confirms what I suspected that for whatever reason the photograph constrains you however I know you'll work your way through your crisis, you've done your homework and your work is quite advanced, just keep going.

07 Jun 08 00:31

Maria

Thank you for the compliment I was delighted.I have been meaning to respond to you for a while and I apologize for not doing so sooner.

This is a very good pose.I like the constriction.You show here a really nice understanding of anatomy.Although it is done in gray-scale, you give us a convincing sense of illumination here.

Thanks for sharing and I hope we'll continue to chat.

Patrick

07 Jun 08 10:06

Dear Patrick,
thanks for your comment. And thanks for having me look at this work again. I am looking for some sort of golden section between this kind of anatomically correct depiction, and the expressive properties of transfiguration through drawing. Mah... it drives me nuts. I look at my last effort and don't know what to think... I think I 'll put it on the studio log and see what you all think.

Mine was not a compliment on your work. I trully beleive there is something important cooking in there. Keep on stirring.

selfportrait
selfportrait
selfportrait

selfportrait

12 Sep 07 21:42

pisteuw oti autos o pinakas einai enas apo ta kalytera pou exeis edw mou aresei to sxedio sou ,exeis tin ikanotita na pernas apo to fws sti skia me anesi,mou aresei para polu ,episis mou aresei to paixnidi pou kaneis bazontas xrwma gia na spasei to aspromauro , to eida kai se ena allo portraito pou exeis ,ebales xrwma sta matia tis kopelas,einai kati pou tou dinei anapnoi kai den sou mpoukonei to ergo.filia polla tha ta poume suntoma

30 Oct 07 15:27

This is a superb painting Maria

16 Oct 08 13:58

Questa on è una donna che pensa ma il PENSIERO STESSO .Canonico

selfportrait
selfportrait
selfportrait

selfportrait

02 Aug 07 02:35

This is a lovely little painting that I've been looking at for a couple of years now. I've often wondered what is the attraction, is it the sitter herself, for some time I thought it was. Having met you Maria I'm not even sure that it's a great likeness, of course I know it's you and there is a likeness but that's not it. Lovely sculptural modeling, essentially monochromatic. Why is there no colour? Yet the grays are very evocative and there is colour the four small orbs of the earings. So I've pondered this thing, what is it that draws me to this image whenever it crosses my path? Finally I think it's the wrongness of it that is the hook, the ear too high up, I realize the head is tilted downward, a very difficult pose to hold in front a mirror so the nose is too long. The mouth strangely crooked and one eye higher than the other. One more defined than the other. But it was honestly painted by an artist trying to paint as best she can the image before her.
Looking through a monograph of Freud's work, an artist I very much admire I realized long ago that it's his mistakes that are the thing of interest. Hands too large, a head too small, all kinds of distortions but not done for effect or purposefully. The artist tries as best he can to attain a flat, accurate, image of what he sees before him and it takes time and his vision changes day after day as does the scene before him and in the end, in order to make the whole enterprise of converting the three dimensional to two, compromises are tolerated. What we attempt to do is impossible like the flattened versions of the world depicted on maps. Yet if we work diligently and honestly and do the best we can, once in a while we make art, it's truly a mystery.

03 Aug 07 19:28

Yes, wrongness is indeed the hook. I am very fond of this little painting myself and I enjoy resting my eyes upon it as it stands quietly against my ling room wall.

Sculptural modeling. This metaphor made me think of Rodin. Of his Balzac sculptures and his Burghers of Calais. One of the most essential elements of the transfiguration of raw clay into art is his fingerprints and his gestures that are forever evident and eternally, unceasingly modeling the clay. Especially his Balzacs are flowing. The clay - now bronze - flows and the figure flows and it is all full of eternal life and movement and the movement is so slow, almost as slow as the growing trees, and it allows you to extract the mood out of the material, as you extract the mood out of a weeping willow in the breeze, only more universally meaningful. And of course the anatomy is all wrong.

Some of this eternal slow motion lies in your wrestlers.

Painting is not so different from sculpture as far as its process is concerned. A painter models his raw material with the initial aim to represent something. But what is it that he wants to represent?
What he sees.
And what does he see?
Let’s say a face.
But what is it that he sees in that face? Certainly not just its form. The face’s form contains emotion and mood and it may even contain other things, even if only evident to the painter. In the process of attaining a flat image of all this, the painter can’t help but watch his “raw clay” model and at that point, as each brushstroke gets closer to or further away from likeness, other aspects of the work materialize. So he decides which of these other aspects to keep – some of them are new to him, as they appear regardless his initial intentions – in the expense of anatomical or representational accuracy.

I think that Freud’s “mistakes” are far from unpurposeful. And yes, they are much of what makes his work art. I admire him very much too, even though whether one shares his view of the human condition as it emerges from his work is another story.

16 Oct 08 14:00

Non è la luce a colpire questo volto , è il volto a diffondere la luce , come un sogno segreto .Canonico

Big Head
Big Head
Big Head

This is a painting I made at a time when I was very angry because I didn't paint enough.

24 Apr 07 15:43

I love this big head. Slightly awkward, there's a fragility that's very appealing and a certain haunting quality almost like a death mask.

25 Apr 07 10:00

Hmm... a death mask. That is a good one. I hadn't thought of it this way before, but it seems to describe well what I often try to do. I take an expression and fix it there still, so that you can look at it for ever, till you finally get what was behind its gaze. Are you familiar with Fayoum portraits?

14 Jun 07 22:30

Maria, your stare captivates me

What you tenderly set eyes upon
What you tenderly set eyes upon
What you tenderly set eyes upon

This is something I did at school. I loved it but it was sold and I can't set my eyes upon it anymore.

15 Apr 07 21:18

Maria, I just spotted this one. It looks very interesting to me for it’s so different from what you usually do. Very vivid and light and happy with a good light and a good plasticity. It’s painting and it has this kind of baroque attitude. I really like it a lot it has music in it.

25 Apr 07 10:08

Well, I liked it too. I was a student then. This was from a live model at a time when most students were directed to adopt a painterly maner and study how the inside and the outside are made of the same stuff. I used to mingle flesh with air and light and watch a body materialise out of the atmosphere.

After that I started thinking too much.

Angel
Angel
Angel

This painting just happened. I don't think there is much to explain.

Old Age
Old Age
Old Age

This is my beloved Kouklos. He has been there waiting for me to come home for 13 long years. He is tired and most probably often in pain, but this does not stop him from following me all around the house. He is the reason why I always try to keep the studio floor clean.

30 Oct 07 15:38

faithful old dog!

21 Dec 07 01:29

I love this piece, a really beautiful and sensuous figurative study.

21 Dec 07 19:51

Thanks guys. Actually, I didn't mean it as a study. It was just a gesture of unselfish love towards my little old boy who scares me to death everytime he is not well. Pink is a fragile colour.

16 Oct 08 14:04

Immagine tragica come quelle di Soutine .Canonico

Rewinde
Rewinde
Rewinde

The first attempt of a series of paintings regarding the personal journey of our characters.

30 Oct 07 15:42

I really like this. I think clothes can be expressive in the same way that you say body parts can be.

21 Dec 07 19:56

Dear Anne, I just came back from Madrid where I went to see great painting. This one looks good on the screen but its surface is disapointing. After my pilgrimage to the Prado, I expect all my surfaces to become more expressive and interesting.

Travel
Travel
Travel

You tell me.

18 Jul 07 01:29

Maria, something's happening. I don't know what it is but I like it.

18 Jul 07 09:18

Thank you. You have no idea how much this means to me... Well, I think my work has, among other things, been influenced a lot by the interaction with you people on this site. So I am really terrified of the impact Trapani has had on some. I will do everything in my power not to let our best people here loose interest and hope for a fruitful off line interaction next time.

21 Jul 07 21:46

Dear Maria, I just spottet it today (21.7.07) and I'm impressed. Wonderful!

08 Aug 07 23:47

Every time I see this painting the mexican mural painters come to mi mind. There is something monumental about it, guess it has something to do with large flat areas of saturated colour,and the rotund figure in the first plane. That impression quickly evaporates when the eyes continue and find the second head, very lightly painted and almost dissapearing, its quite a contrast.I think that you have expressed perfectly the idea, with the essential elements,nothing more is needed.

08 Oct 07 12:03

Cara Maria questa è la tua opera che più mi piace. Bellissimo

16 Oct 08 14:06

Un uome dorme accanto alla sua coscienza . Canonico

Journey
Journey
Journey

Life's course changes a man. These changes occure on a chess board. The moves that a man makes are a counteraction to the moves of the adversary. The adversary has more often than not the form of a parent's ghost or that of a past self. This is about the background of the intention behind the painting. Now the painting as such is another story. I am trying to find the most apropriate form for what I want to express. I will most probably run into it by chance. Wish me luck.

26 Aug 07 13:20

Ok, I will tell you what I don't like about this painting. When I look at it I can't help but think of old, film advertising posters. And their function was purly narrative.

Pure narration -no good. (At least artists have been taught this for decades.)
But then again I could cite many very narrative masterpieces. Plus mexican murals (thanks, dear Karen).

Where am I going wrong?

30 Oct 07 15:54

I don't think the function of old film posters was to narrate, they aimed to give a glimpse of, a peek at a story that you would want to see. Medieval paintings aimed to tell the whole story, later on painters would encapsulate the story in one captured moment. But, in both cases, everyone knew the story anyway, so now we are into illustration. Narration is as fit a subject for painting as anything. If the ghostly faces were painted out one would be interested in the man, the painting would "work" Good luck with it.

Expectation
Expectation
Expectation

.

08 Oct 07 16:54

Maria,I love it,in it's simple but intense construction. Very powerful. Has quitado aditamentos,y lo has destilado hasta obtener solo lo importante. Enhorabuena!

20 Nov 07 03:47

A very strong and beautiful painting, I don't understand Karen's words above but I agree totally.

Expectation #2
Expectation #2
Expectation #2

.

01 Nov 07 10:23

You certainly seem to be moving on with these recent works Maria. There's a great sense of insistance, a will to forge something new. Keep pushing - I feel you'll end up uncovering something really surprising.

10 Nov 07 22:01

Thanks JP. I keep my fingers crossed too. It is so damn hard with everything one has to do. I just wish everything would leave me alone so that I could just paint and go and see good painting and paint and go and see good painting again. Sometimes, when I don't get a chance to work, I feel like chances are that I die the next morning having wasted all my time in this life in trivial, trivial, trivial things.

?
?
?

This started as a study for bigger painting but I kind of like it like this and decided to keep it.

11 Nov 07 12:28

Quite right. It's monumental.

11 Nov 07 18:06

Dear Maria, go on, go on, go on, don't stop. You are on a good way. I know you can do it. It shows great promise.

19 Nov 07 08:31

I am not convinced I can paint yet, but I know I can draw...
Thank you for the encouraging my friends. Hanjo, your criticism in private may be offering its first fruit. I am working on it.

19 Nov 07 17:30

Maria & Hanjo... if you find your private critiques bearing fruit, do please consider sharing your experience with others. It would be very interesting to listen to both the teacher and student's view on how the critique is delivered and subsequently perceived.
You may also stimulate others to participate in a public forum on your art practice.
As you know, the focus of artprocess.net is artist-to-artist dialogue, and I hope we're now beginning to feel less uncomfortable with exposing our artistic selves - for the sake of the communication between peers, and whatever it is we artists insist on, and that we're desperately searching for.

19 Nov 07 20:03

Don't worrry J.P. No one is going to cheet and say all the interesting stuff behind everybody else's back (ha, ha). Private communication between artists is also natural, especially when big attachements are needed.

And you are right, this is a place for communication between peers. It is not a school and therefore there is no such thing as "teachers and students".

Sitted Bull
Sitted Bull
Sitted Bull

... so I took another canvas and tried what would have happened if I had gone on with it. This is still small but I like the subject and I may make a third big one. We'll see.

11 Jan 08 09:06

Your works are intense and fantastic

19 Feb 08 19:22

I love these latest paintings, Maria. They're filled with surprise, new form and freedom. Very strong work, they just seem right to me, in conception, painting and scale. You've made a major leap, I'm proud of you.

22 Feb 08 21:00

My dear Hillel, Thank you so much for the encouraging! I am trying my best (or almost my best). The trip to Spain has been decisive for my work. And I tell you, I am deeply, profoundly in love with Goya. I shed tears in front of his pinturas negras. I feel like my painting has just started.

Twins
Twins
Twins

This was born first.

18 Feb 08 20:54

in the last darker paintings i like the way the forms are born from the darkness and the colours gain intensity too

23 Feb 08 19:49

Well, I am a chiaroscuro type. I must admit that light and shade and form are all I care about. Colour comes second, even though I like playing with the diferent effect each colour gives as it is confronted with darkness. So, my chiaroscuro paintings usually have some sort of uniform hue: a blue painting, a redish painting, a green painting and so on. I just hope light and shade and space work. Then colour plays a psychological role and can create this ambience instead of another.

Twins
Twins
Twins

This was born second.

01 Feb 08 16:53

Ciao Maria, complimenti questo lavoro mi piace molto.Non so perchè ma mi fa ricordare una poesia (?) di Luca Maria Antonini.

NOI
noi
siamo fatti per metà di
quello che siamo e per l’altra metà di quello
che non siamo - sia chiaro non sono due metà esatte, speculari -
e
tutto ciò che non è noi
ci è estraneo
perché noi siamo per metà i
primi estranei a noi stessi
e
tutto ciò che non è noi
ci è contrario
perché siamo fatti per metà
del contrario di quello che siamo.

noi
non siamo per questo divisi
perché il contrario di ciò che siamo è nostro
non il contrario noi
non siamo e siamo e non apparteniamo a
nient’altro tranne che a noi stessi,
non apparteniamo a niente e a nessuno che ci sia contrario
ma al contrario noi conteniamo i contrari

noi siamo interi come il non essere e l’essere che sono uno
se non fossimo quello che non siamo
non ci
mancherebbe una parte di
quello che siamo
ci mancherebbe quello che siamo
non una semplice metà

noi siamo indivisibili
come lo zero
noi siamo diluiti
diluiti in noi stessi con noi stessi
e
ciò che noi siamo è mescolato a ciò che non siamo
e
a ciò che sarà
piru piru piru là.

Luca Maria Antonini

[nemico del popolo,
écrivain public]

Egyptian Bat
Egyptian Bat
Egyptian Bat

This started as an exercise while I was waiting for some new canvases. I didn't paint it upside down, but while doing so, these two words kept coming to my mind (egyptian bat), so I turned it upside down and gave it this title. I am starting to have fun! After a few months I retuched it and turned it upside up again.

12 Mar 08 18:50

I liked it upside down as well. The colors in the hands are really beautiful,glowing with warmth.

13 Mar 08 19:47

Thanks, Fotini. The quality of the colours is what actually changed when I retuched it. And the surface. I have started working more on the charm of thicker material.

Looking Glass #2
Looking Glass #2
Looking Glass #2

This is the left piece a diptych. I have been working on it for almost a year now.I am possitive this is finished. The right piece might go through some changes again. We will see.

Lokking Glass #2
Lokking Glass #2
Lokking Glass #2

This is the right piece of the diptych.

Peter
Peter
Peter

This is a study for a bigger painting of my friend Peter. He has this idea of a large full body portrait he asked me to paint, which I find most intreaging and chalenging. I hope to be able to start it soon.

30 Mar 08 04:17

Dear Maria, if you keep making one breakthrough after another the whole building's going to collapse. Since that Madrid trip you've been on fire, was it the Rego show or just your El Greco experience at The Prado? Come on, don't be bashful tell us about both, I know you can. Write us an essay about either or both under the "Artist's Cafe" listing in the Forum.
This is a great little painting. your colours are getting very strong and just look at the great painting of the hair and novel forms around the neck. You're forcing me to change some of my ideas and notions. From your seemingly traditional art background I'm pleasantly surprised at the very contemporary work you seem to be moving towards, You can respond here, but I know it's good for a really thought provoking piece on your recent Prado experience so I'm prepared to wait for your essay

30 Mar 08 12:22

I am not sure I understand the first sentence. Do you mean I am moving in different directions simultaneously and risk getting lost?
You might get your essay my dear but maybe not just so soon. The whole Madrid experience did inject new energy and ideas in my veins, as did too great Greeks, Papaloukas and Fidakis, I saw in Athens a month ago. For the record, it was first Goya, secondly Velasquez and not at all El Greco. Rego played her major part too. However, I have been trying to avoid giving a name to what happened inside for fear of lessening its power. I would rather put it on canvas first and afterwards in words. The reason is that this experience opened me up in a visual way and gave birth to something which I don’t want to confine in a limited descriptive effort. Not before it gets its roots strong and well planted. Also because I will be able to comprehend it completely only after it will have sprouted up and appropriate names can be chosen for its genre.

30 Mar 08 17:36

Sorry I worded that poorly , I was trying to combine a couple of notions. One of them being that your work of late is changing and the other that deconstruction is necessary for reconstruction. For me that path has always begun with the experiments of the early 1900s. Inspired by Cezanne's constructed impressionism that led to all the isms that followed; cubism, orphism, suprematism, etc. All terrible names for essentially the same thing, the fragmenting and rethinking of the two dimensional picture plane. Whereas you seem to be coming at it from a completely different set of models and I find that very interesting.
For a time you worked with greys and I wondered why does Maria from sunny colour saturated Greece limit herself to grey now I see it was a part of your process to gain a better mastery of colour. Really my comments were meant to be complimentary because I'm excited about your new work and although I'm not sure exactly where you're coming from I sense you're definitely on the road to something unique and doing it in your own way.
Since I started responding to your comment I see you have posted a Forum entry and I've just read it. It's a lovely bit of writing and I'm going to have to reread it and give it some additional thought. Thanks for that.

30 Mar 08 18:57

You see that is what I was trying to say once on a comment I made your Head #6. As I understand it, what happened in the early 1900 was the fragmenting and rethinking of the object first and the way we perceive it and then that of the two dimensional picture plane. Cezanne for example talked about representing the world using the cube, the cone and the sphere and not the square, the triangle and circle. It was all about understanding the most elementary structural elements beneath things and consequently learn to perceive nature through its structure. Once achieved, this new way of seeing, it was like revealing the matrix so you could enter the forms and play from the inside. Rearrange, decompose, reconstruct. All about the form. Colour came second. Allow me to believe that suprematism was the only –ism that had little to do with form and vision. Again, as I understand it, it was rather an iconoclastic movement that had more to do with theology than visual perception.

Now, thank you so much for believing in my efforts. I am extremely interested in understanding what you see in them, so I will ask you to try and define what you mean. When I was working with grays what I was looking for was the form i.e. the structure, and I still am. I suppose this improvement of the colours came naturally as I am becoming more experienced and less a chicken in front of the canvas. For the record again, my background, meaning what they were teaching when I went to school, is exactly the early 1900 breakthrough. That is why I think my work may have taken a promising turn but not an entirely new one. It is my turn to thank you for the “unique” and say I am not entirely sure I agree.

31 Mar 08 01:33

My lesson from Cezanne is different than the way you perceive it but then everyone has there own take. The so called cubists are all very different maybe Leger comes the closest to using that Cezanne famous quote literally. My understanding is almost the opposite in learning to see two dimensional structure without any perception of the object but it doesn't matter, it's all subjective.

As for the second part of your comment and what it is that I find of interest in your newer work... well I see some loosening of the whole perspectival spatial thing, a relaxing and allowing earlier attempts to live as a kind of pentimento, like in your painting Travel, where I think you just left a bit of an earlier attempt at placement because you liked it. I don't think you did it on purpose but you did leave it on purpose for the sheer joy of the mystery and ambiguity of it. Or the two Twins paintings where there's a lot of ambiguity in many of the dark forms. What is it exactly we're looking at, well who cares? You know what it is and you trust your instincts enough to leave it alone because it just feels right. Whether I or anyone else can make it out doesn't matter as long as it makes abstract pictorial sense. The viewer's brain will make of it what it will.

Now in this painting there's again something new, as I said earlier I particularly like what's happening in the neck because you're digging deep looking for new form, different colour, I'm not sure exactly what's being described but I like it, it's mysterious and feels very masterful and reminds me of Velasques yet very much today. And I will defend the use of the word "unique" for although there's a lot of crossover in all the things we do, our understandings and takes on everything even the meaning of words varies from person to person. Take the word Cubism that probably meant something different to every so called practitioner of it. Yet it was only the writers and theorists who would come up with some supreme inviolable definition. So when you take a promising turn it's your unique promising turn based on your unique sensibility and vision.

Anyway that's the way I see it and you may disagree with all that I've said. But I do think you're on to something, keep digging, have no fear and rip open everything like you did here with that neck.

31 Mar 08 20:28

Well, you may be right and I may be inventing things the way they suit me best. Sometimes we see what we want to see but it doesn’t matter really.

Thanks for the analysis. That’s the way I see what I do too and I am happy it is visible to others. Except the pentimento thing, which was in fact intentional. Actually, this is funny, it was one of the very few times I ever did a preparatory sketch! It was my first attempt to lose perspective and mix foreground with background, focusing at different parts at the same time. The result was a little timid, or maybe I just liked the composition and feared I might ruin it if I added more figures as I initially intended. I must tell you that this idea of multiple focusing, experimenting on which I will return to in time, occurred to me looking at some of your wrestling figures and your trains. If you look through your portfolio you will find an old comment of mine under Subway Painting II. What I saw in it was some sort of layers between all those vertical lines, very close to one another that seemed to flatten the image on the surface of the canvas, regardless the perspective. It felt like a back and forth visual vibration. The legs on your Staircase and Figures have also got me thinking a lot. You may have used the effect to capture motion or whatever but it got me thinking of multiple focusing. It is interesting how our brain works and what kind of completely different things we may connect.

In this little Peter’s portrait I can see the effect of having recently seen what a good painting’s surface should be like and how the brush should be heavy with colour if you want each brushstroke to be meaningful and self sufficient. I used to rub my paint a lot and get dull results before Madrid.

31 Mar 08 22:36

Thanks for a very good conversation. Having reread your contribution to the Forum I think It's a beautiful piece of writing, I didn't want to respond there because I'd like to see it remain on the home page for a while before it gets buried. Hopefully other people will get some enjoyment from it. It's certainly a most evocative description of what seems to have been a very powerful and memorable gallery visit. Personally I've always been somewhat uneasy about those paintings although I recognize their importance and where they fit in Spanish history.

Here's a question for you, from what I know of the work you do and now this new found passion for those particular Goya paintings I'm just wondering if it's an ambition of yours to do away with models and photos and paint directly from your imagination?

By the way the legs on my Staircase and Figures was in a sense some kind of pentimento, it wasn't planned. It happens to me quite often where I'll try what I think is a better attempt at placement or whatever and then leave the remnant because it suggests movement or it just feels right. I guess my analysis was a projection on my part.

01 Apr 08 11:30

To some extent, I already do paint from my imagination given the fact that I use the model (live or not) as a guide to anatomy and then set it in my own space. For the time being I still need my figures to be real people, with real stories and characters for I still tell tails that begin in the sphere of personal experience and hope to be later elevated to universal for the viewer who will project his own on them. You might have noticed how my paintings are always of one person only. This is a limitation which I am trying to overcome, especially since “Ditch”, which was an attempt to introduce a completely imaginary combination of members, even if shy and only at one corner. I trust I am experienced enough with anatomy in order to invent figures myself, but it takes guts to let go of mom nature’s hand and cross the road on my own. However, the road will be crossed sooner or later as it has been the plan from the beginning. One early painting that attempted that was “The Furies or The Step”. It was changed a zillion times and took two years to find a solution, but apart from the face and hands that came from photos shot on purpose, the rest was invented. I remember I was so happy with that clothing that, to me, was the most expressive part of the painting. It must have been worth something because somebody paid good money for it in the end.

Coming to our previous discussion on background, it is funny to think how at school, producing realistic images was looked down on after the third or fourth year. In some mysterious way we all felt as if there was some high imperative to reach “transformation” and “transfiguration” or whatever. You would be amazed to see what desperate efforts I used to make then, when I left my model the last two years. It took years of frustration to find that I wasn’t ready yet, and run back to nature for nurture.

Lately, I have been using this example that I thought of, which seems to apply on so many different cases. From confused adolescent students of mine, to human relationships, to art:
“Everybody complains that tomatoes don’t taste like tomatoes any more. This is because nobody waits for tomatoes to take their time growing any more.”

01 Apr 08 21:30

I'll take that as a yes. There was no value judgement in my question, where art is involved there's always imagination at work. Take the work of one of our Art Process colleagues Jeroen Witvliet, if you take a look at his portfolio you'll see a few works based on newspaper images. If you've ever looked closely at a photo in the newspaper or anywhere else for that matter you quickly realize that there's very little information there and it takes a great deal of imagination to see into the image and bring something of life back to it.

Yes The Furies or The Step is one of your stand out works, I've often stopped to look at it and now when I look at it your love of the Black Paintings makes even more sense. You're quite right though painting figuratively from imagination requires a thorough knowledge of anatomy and the rules of perspective both of which I tried as best as I could to forget but then I have no desire to paint like that. I've met animators and comic strip artists who think I can't draw worth a damn yet the kind of drawing I do is quite different from what they do and I think fairly proficient for what I want to achieve. So there are no absolutes even when it comes to drawing.

We're constantly working around our own deficiencies and everyone has them, real or perceived. Take Bacon he generally couldn't paint multiple figures, I speculate that he couldn't get them to relate properly. The double image paintings from Muybridge's photos don't count as they're essentially one figure, so he devised a way around the whole thing, thus the tryptichs... pretty tricky, eh?

03 Apr 08 09:15

Ah, drawing! This is by far my favourite subject. I always appreciate a chance to talk about it. Well, people who would ask you what it is that you paint at cocktail parties as well as comic strip artists, confuse what I call drawing with the ability to create convincing resemblance using outlines. The kind of drawing ability an artist needs, instead, is that of picking out and combining different bits and pieces from the immense stock of visual forms that sleep tight in our visual memory, in such a way that he/she can create new, unprecedented ones but yet full with emotionally accessible meaning. To add to this, the artist’s ability to draw serves as his tool for recognizing what elements are needed or need to be left out from the whole of his (painted or sculpted etc) creature in order to give it visual balance, guide the viewer through its scape of forms, and make it “readable”. Now whether the figures are realistic or not and whether the depth of the pictorial space (if needed) is created using traditional perspective or not are another matter. Viewers who look for all this in a work are simply confusing depiction with description and are any way less likely to appreciate any kind of art for its inherent qualities.

Speaking of Witvliet’s work, you can see good drawing, among other things, in his Buonas Noches. This is not because the cops’ gear is shown in a detailed manner nor because you see the outline of a German shepherd. But because of how the image gains all its power from its layout, the missing parts one can imagine, the choice and the positioning of coloured patches in the gray space. You can also see how the ability to draw directs you to eliminate the bed’s bars from your new painting and then reintroduce them differently and add the shape of a lamp and then duplicate it and another piece of white pillow and so on. Not because you need a pillow and a lamp and information about the bed being iron. But because you need those shapes and patches of colour and lines there that continue into other lines through the bodies and produce balance of this or the other kind, according to one’s intentions. All this is drawing. The distortion of perspective or proportion of the human body is good drawing when it is necessary to the painting’s content. Take the screaming figures in the Guernica. Their screams are louder and more deafening than any realistic figure with an open mouth. In order though to master such screaming figures, you need first to be able to draw open mouths. Once you conquer those you can do what you wish with them.

03 Apr 08 22:47

Beautifully said and I certainly agree with all of it just allow me to add a few thoughts on the topic because drawing for me is everything. In my work I really can't differentiate between painting and drawing. Seemingly, according to all the folks that curate shows, judge competitions, etc. drawing seems to have to do with line and is done in medium such as graphite, charcoal, pen and ink, I think washes (watercolour or ink are allowed), recently oil stick and magic marker are acceptable but oil on canvas or acrylic or whatever on canvas enters the realm of painting. So as far as I can make out according to all the experts basically it's about the media used and the support (primarily paper) which if you analyze it doesn't make any sense but that's the case with a whole lot of things when it comes to the visual arts. The schools are churning out all kinds of experts with BFAs and MFAs for the purpose of what? Beats the hell out of me because, let's face it, art (at least the making of it) cannot be taught. Each individual artist has to rediscover it and reinvent it for their own selves

Sorry back to the topic, drawing to me is the record of an artist's thought and that's all. It's how artists tackle the measurement of their visual experience and everything a creative or unique artist does is all wrapped up in that, they have to discover their own process of measurement. All you can do, and I'm talking to you as a teacher, is try to put your students on the road to that. "Here's the three dimensional world and here's some stuff that makes marks (pencils, paint, crayons, mud, lipstick,shit, whatever) and the the two dimensional support, now go figure it out, use whatever means you can, rulers, camera obscura, whatever, there's no such thing as cheating simply find a way to translate your three dimensional view of things, two dimensionally and take your time because it will probably take your whole life to do it." What makes an artist unique is his/her signature style and that all comes down to their individual measure.

This is not not an abstract vs. realism issue. I tell my friends who are abstract painters, "Draw, just draw anything that's of interest, look deeply and don't be self conscious about your lack of skill (because most of them are, they can't shake off their art school training) I don't care how lame or inept your drawings will seem to you, they will inform and strengthen your abstract work".

Terry
Terry
Terry

.

07 Jul 08 20:37

I have to say Maria, that I love the way this head is done. We all know that its apparent simplicity is very difficult to reach, and you've done it with very few brushstokes. Enhorabuena !

Jasmin2
Jasmin2
Jasmin2

This is one of the little portraits I made as an exercise with colours, to warm up for two bigger projects that terrify me. Sometimes you just need to go and do a little of what you feel confident with, to get some courage.

The Defender
The Defender
The Defender

This is one of those paintings that work like exorsism tools for me. Every now and then I do a self portrait that functions as a safety valve to release pressure.

16 Jun 08 21:05

this is a good one. I like the closeness and the warm to cool colors.

17 Jun 08 08:32

Thanks Fotini, I am quite happy with this one too. It was one morning's work that helped me face the rest of the week.

You know I used to work with a restrained palete of the basic colours, ochre, burnt sienna, black and white. I used to think I should be able to do everything with those. God knows where that idea came from. Lately I felt a little rebel and got some more colours. Now I have three different reds to play with and four blues to mix with ombre which gives nice shadows or use plain for light next to yellow and ochre. Funny enough for me, I took black out. I make all my "black" with blue, red and burnt ombre. Phthalo blue was a revelation. I am desperately trying to move to my new studio before August. I hope life will be nice to me and let me paint finally.

17 Jun 08 13:17

twra ton blepw kai mou aresei polu!!!

17 Jun 08 16:31

I'm sure I agree with Nicoletta. Just one more thing, it's small but it seems monumental,where's the trick Maria??

17 Jun 08 16:53

as far as I know Nikoletta said that this looks very much like Maria. And I think she's absolutely right. It's a very interesting portrait as far as I can judge

Sunshine man
Sunshine man
Sunshine man

.

(not sure yet)
(not sure yet)
(not sure yet)

.

Underwater
Underwater
Underwater

This is a better image of this painting as i had said I would upload.

20 Nov 08 21:08

nice expressions..

Sunshine Peter
Sunshine Peter
Sunshine Peter

This was the last painting I made only days before the exhibition. And I think it was the last of this series of portraits. Sitting in front of your paintings all day at the show is a very constructive activity. It gives you lots of new ideas.

19 Dec 08 16:14

This a very strong work, a beautiful painting.

Ink drawing
Ink drawing
Ink drawing

Drawings that save the day.

Ink drawing
Ink drawing
Ink drawing

Drawings that save the day.

Drawing
Drawing
Drawing

Drawings that save the day.

Drawing
Drawing
Drawing

Drawings that save the day.

Drawing
Drawing
Drawing

Drawings that save the day.

Drawing
Drawing
Drawing

Drawings that save the day.

Drawing
Drawing
Drawing

Drawings that save the day.

Drawing
Drawing
Drawing

Drawings that save the day.

23 Jul 09 14:32

I looked at Teresa A Mills' work, Maria, and found it very intriguing.As a sculptor myself,I particularly liked her ability to incorporate a wide range of materials and found objects into the work.Its also very witty - her commentary on domesticity is spot-on! I hope she's still producing work - I don't see anything since 2007.
Love your delicate plant drawings, by the way.

Unawares
Unawares
Unawares

This was done as an exercise to see how the Polignote colour range works. It was done a couple of months before the plant drawings.

My verandah
My verandah
My verandah

As I said I am going through a little crisis with my new work. I have decided to find myself some models for the large figure paintings to have some visual input to play with. While I wait for this to happen I do something I haven't thought I would do again. Paint objects from life just to keep me active and as Hanjo once said, do my "every day piano player exercise".

Plant Pots
Plant Pots
Plant Pots

As I said I am going through a little crisis with my new work. I have decided to find myself some models for the large figure paintings to have some visual input to play with. While I wait for this to happen I do something I haven't thought I would do again. Paint objects from life just to keep me active and as Hanjo once said, do my "every day piano player exercise".

08 Jun 09 09:40

Well Maria, neither what I have seen in your studiolog nor these studies looks exactly like a crisis. Obviously you are exploring brighter colours and what light does with them just as you have announced at the beginning of the year. And looking at what you see from your window it indeed would be a pity if you weren’t exploring this kind of firework instead of being fixed to grey and dark brown.
Talking about crisis I sometimes have the feeling that in a way one is in a crisis permanently as a painter. If one is doing this business with a routine and without any doubts something seems to be terribly wrong.
What you have shown so far looks promising and I am convinced that something interesting will come out of your struggle.

09 Jun 09 23:18

Nice still life.

And I like the painting you're working on in your studio log, you just have to have the courage and confidence to keep going and go where no man (or Maria) has gone before. I know your impulse, it would be mine as well, to try to find additional visual information. Maybe you should just continue the way you're going for now and work as far as you can from your imagination as an experiment. What's the worst that can happen, a huge mess and some wasted material? At the very least you'll finally find out whether you can work that way or not and put yourself out of your agony.

I guarantee that even if you get your models the painting will undergo so much change it will end up being something entirely different anyway.

10 Jun 09 09:40

Hello Maria,about your work in your studiolog,keep going,the colours you are using in this last work are reminding me somehow of the old flemish masters,and the figures don't stand on there own,there is a background now ,that's interesting,but sometimes one goes through this process of asking and wondering,after that a solution often appears as out of the blue as it seems,go on you are making beautifull work

11 Jun 09 11:05

Maria, quería comentarte el cuadro grande pero no he tenido la ocasión, hoy puedo hacerlo. Lo voy a hacer en español, para variar, y porque me lleva menos tiempo. La primera vez que ví la pintura me recordó y me hizo sentir algo del "joie de vivre" de las pinturas de Matisse. Me gustó la combinación de los rojos planos y cómo confluían con los azules de las figuras, (sobretodo la de la derecha), el cuadro transmitía o yo lo recibía así, más una idea que una situación específica. El frescor, la tranquilidad, la sensualidad mediterránea. Yo no eliminaría esos rojos, y mucho menos los cambiaría por blancos, ya que el blanco en primer lugar acerca la superficie saltándose digamos el orden del espacio, y én segundo lugar lucha con la luz del fondo por protagonismo, con lo cual se pierde el efecto general de la semi-sombra acogedora a salvo de la luz cegadora del exterior. Los rojos te unían toda la composición, y el blanco no produce en ningún caso el mismo efecto vigorizante de un rojo de cadmio.
Tampoco utilizaría modelos para las figuras,(si he entendido bien la idea de lo que quieres) iría más hacia formas simples y planas.
La planta verde que tienes en primer plano me desconcierta porque tiene mucha luz, yo mantendría los verdes pero bajaría la altura tonal, y en general intentaría mantener una altura tonal baja y parecida, en las zonas de sombra, lo cual te permite trabajar con zonas muy saturadas y diferentes de color sin que se produzcan sensaciones de volumen.
Me gusta la sensación compositiva de las curvas centradas (las líneas de las sillas) aunque ,para mí, se repiten mucho (las curvas) en la zona izquierda (la opuesta a la de la planta) quizá allí mantendría la superficie roja recta , por romper un poco con tanta curva pequeña. Creo que a medida que lo continúes se podrán comentar más cosas, incluso podríamos invitar a nuestra amiga Montse a que se pronuncie al respecto en español, (de vez en cuando los demás pueden hacer también un ejercicio de traducción).
Me gusta la obra y por eso te doy mi opinión ( y porque has pedido comentarios), en realidad comentar es un ejercicio superficial, porque lo primero que habría que saber es la idea que ha generado el cuadro, tu objetivo, y aún así nunca coincidiríamos en la forma de hacerlo, pero bueno , siempre vienen bien distintos puntos de vista, no? Me gusta la intención que se lee entre líneas, (simplificar, perder el hilo que nos ata a la realidad definida que tenemos en la cabeza ) y me espolea a intentar algo parecido, pero qué difícil es simplificar verdad? es mucho mas fácil hablar .
Por cierto, me gustan mucho estos pequeños cuadros,son frescos y espontáneos y me encanta que el negro haya desaparecido prácticamente de tu paleta. perdona mi ignorancia pero qué es "atlacol glue"??

11 Jun 09 12:12

Well, I fully agree with Karen. For me too the red seems to be essential. At least I was so happy to find such a bright colour in one of your paintings. And this red gives the painting the warmth and joy that corresponds with the figures. These figures in my opinion do not need to be so close to life that you would need a model to make them perfect. I wanted to write some lines about this but was interrupted by the need to travel to Amsterdam. Now, after being back again I find that Karen had just the same opinion. Okay, everything is already said so far. So the only thing I can add is to encourage you to keep on following the path you’re on already.

13 Jun 09 10:40

My dear friends, thanks for your comments. Renilde, welcome aboard.
Karen, you are really being very helpful. Being specific on what looks good to you on a work and what doesn’t is what we need here among painters. You know, the elimination of the reds was an attempt to make work the colours of the ground. Apparently, it wasn’t very successful and, yes, it did kill the green of the background. I think you are right also about the excessive repetition of the parallel curves on the left. I saw that myself. There used to be another leaf there but I thought it were too decorative a repetition with the other leaf opposite it so I took that out and I am happy with the space left there. I need to manage the shapes and lines there better. It is not easy because abstract and imaginary as they may be, all these shapes must allude to shade from the figure and chair. This doesn’t mean I want them to be realistic, and this goes for the figures too. I want the whole thing to allude to summer and a fresh garden in the afternoon heat and a calm conversation and the “joie de vivre” as you say, which by the way, except Matisse, I find in the works of Panayotis Tetsis, a great Greek painter, one of those whom I have been studying lately, and unfortunately one CANNOT appreciate on a screen the same way one cannot appreciate Turner on a screen. So those of you who will look him up on the internet don’t jump to conclusions. Wait until you get in Greece and I will take you to see some of this thrilling painting.

About the model, I am not really thinking of using one in order to make the figures on these paintings realistic. I don’t need painting from life because of some fear to let go the known path and experiment. Instead, I need them to make studies from life so that I can later manipulate, keep certain elements and throw away others, in order to help create my own figures. I guess this is what Hillel means too. Nature has always been the greatest teacher and there is no significant art, no matter how abstract, that hasn’t been born out of the fermentation of nature’s forms in the artistic mind. And really I want the model for the other work, the one with the multiple figures standing. It is not very easy to describe my objective, Karen, not because of a difficulty in putting it in words, but because I have grown impatient. Writing has become a little difficult for me lately. Can you believe I get restless and can’t sit in front of the computer long enough? Ha, ha.

Anyway, here are some brief hints that maybe Fotini can decipher more easily. The painting of Panayotis Tetsis with his brilliance of light and his all so rich surfaces (not possible to view online), Giannis Moralis with his geometrical compositions so full of a fresh interpretation of ancient basso rilievi on tomb stones(this you can look up online), Giannis Tsarouhis with his use of ancient masters’ palette; the ancient Greek relief sculpture itself, the stone walls which hide beautiful gardens behind them on my island, the summer light. All these elements I try to combine and I don’t have a theory to precede the painting this time, because I haven’t got the slightest idea of what the work that will eventually express what I am after will look like. I’ll tell you when I get there. Or, better, you will know what I am talking about, when I myself find it.


13 Jun 09 20:03

Well I can understand why you are studing Tetsis, his color is masterful and he lets it breathe although he uses intense hues very often.It is a good thing to let the work guide you,it might lead somewhere unexpected.

15 Jun 09 01:28

Hi Maria, I enjoy speaking with you again. I postulate myself, with your permission, the mascot of the "club of Madrid” which I attended since its foundation in the cafeteria of the Reina Sofia Museum. I will comment your picture because I have been directly invited by Karen to do that-I thank her very much-.
She knows that I read your interesting discussions and sometimes I have repressed the desire to speak for lack of time to translate my thoughts into English, then she has had to suffer my considerations in private.

I am also very glad to see you embarked on a new challenge. You call it crisis, but I agree with Hanjo that an artist is always in crisis. The crisis is the tension needed to create.

I like your "black paintings", especially Unawares, and your search for the color emerging from the shadow- in my opinion a very difficult task. I am also a great fan of "black" Goya. But I should accept that an artist grows up experimenting in many directions.

I am sympathetic with your present efforts because I am also painting things very different from those I have been painting till now. I have been trained into chiaroscuro tradition and now I face the challenge of finding the volume through the highly filled colors. Fortunately Karen is ready to encourage me.

So I encourage you in your goal of to fill your paintings of color and light following the line of Tetsis. Who I'd like to see in the original. The past month I was in London seeing Turner´s paintings and I agree with your opinion. But it doesn’t only happen to them, I would say that it happens to any painting. The eye does not only need an image, but the matter. The eye needs to "touch" the paint.

I think we all agree on the color red subject. It is very fortunate that the red color bathes the figures. Remember that glow when the bodies are pierced by sunlight.
Regarding the composition, the horizontal line across the picture and the circle formed by the figures and the chairs fit well to your purpose to transmit placidity, even though I would shade the legs of the chairs to make this circularity less obvious and dull . Although this is only my opinion but the picture isn´t mine.

About natural models I agree with Hillel and you. I believe that natural is always the best starting point. Nothing more complex and rich than life. The same model allows us to create endless pictures without ever repeating. To be confident with our mental images, especially when creating an invented composition, is not always useful because our mind by default simplifies reality. Our mind is designed to abstract. The nature allows us to play in the direction of our intentions in each moment. So I invite you to create your own shapes from studies of life.

At last, I think the only thing you need to reach your ends is to use your enthusiasm, wisdom and intuition, as you did till now. Good voyage.

15 Jun 09 08:55

Montse! How nice to hear from you! Thanks for your comments. As you might have seen on the studio log, I already started working with the model and slowly slowly I will collect visual information to get back to this painting and turn it inside out again. It is good having you guys around while doing all this. Thanks.

Pot on roof top
Pot on roof top
Pot on roof top

As I said I am going through a little crisis with my new work. I have decided to find myself some models for the large figure paintings to have some visual input to play with. While I wait for this to happen I do something I haven't thought I would do again. Paint objects from life just to keep me active and as Hanjo once said, do my "every day piano player exercise". Anyway you put it, it is always very good to get back in touch with real light. These last three sudies were done this morning. This one was the last one and I had got tired and lazy. I think my grays could vary a bit more.

Moonlight Man
Moonlight Man
Moonlight Man

.

At the window
At the window
At the window

.

figure
figure
figure

.

Garden No6
Garden No6
Garden No6

.

The Garden 2
The Garden 2
The Garden 2

.

The Garden 3
The Garden 3
The Garden 3

.

The Garden 4
The Garden 4
The Garden 4

.

The Garden 5
The Garden 5
The Garden 5

.

Kuku
Kuku
Kuku

.

The Garden 10
The Garden 10
The Garden 10

.

Confrontation
Confrontation
Confrontation

Left piece of diptych

Confrontation
Confrontation
Confrontation

Right piece of diptych.

Disolving Mother
Disolving Mother
Disolving Mother

.

GB
GB
GB

.

Figure in Orange
Figure in Orange
Figure in Orange

.