Et in Arcadia Ego: a story of process

by Alden Cole on October 20, 2015 · 0 comments

“Art is how we decorate space. Music is how we decorate time.” – Frank Zappa (21 Dec 1940 – 4 Dec 1993)

DreamsofArcadyFramedWPDreams of Arcady • acrylic on plywood panel 4.25″ x 24″. Panel is ‘framed’ with a recycled bureau drawer front 8.25″ x 28″, made of pine,
Pan'sPlaygroundStage1-4WPembossed with a wickerwork pattern • collection of the artist

My latest painting, started last Tuesday 13 October 2015, most recently reworked on Saturday, seen at left in four stages of development, reprises a theme I first gave form to in the late-80s, shortly after moving to Philadelphia. These various experiments comprise tributes to the great paintings of the past by master artists like Titian and Poussin, among others, portraying the search for those places of bucolic delight where the body and soul can find rest and take its fill of ease – at least temporarily – a timeless quest of the human spirit. My aim through these visual expressions has been to evoke the timeless music of the spheres – whether you visualize that energy as microcosmic or macrocosmic – and to translate that lyricism into visual images that make one want to get up and dance, possibly even to sing, or simply to meditate and experience the silence. Ambitious aims admittedly; and only you the audience can say if I’ve been even partially successful in my desire to incorporate seeing, hearing, feeling, even silence, into the magic that is painting: the portrayal of a multi-dimensional world on a two-dimensional surface. Regardless of your opinion of my success or lack of it, the quest goes on…

AcadianDreams720“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor; it’s to enjoy each step along the way.” – Wayne Dyer (10 May 1940 – 29 Aug 2015)

Acadian Dreams #2 • oil on walnut panel 9″ x 44″ enclosed in the headboard of an antique walnut bedstead that was a gift many years
4stagesAcadianDreamsWPago from my grandmother Edeth Belle Waterhouse Cole (1 Sep 1880 – 15 Jan 1979). Painting was started in the spring of 2008; seen in four stages of successive development at left. However, the panel is still unfinished, missing the figures that will move the painting to the next level of aliveness. The completion will happen this fall; as my intent is for the painting to realize my original vision based on an early concept sketch drafted around 1988 in pencil, then later colorized with markers. This original drawing is the last image at the bottom of this posting.

ArcadianDreamsWPAcadian Dreams #1 • oil on linen canvas mounted on plywood panel 8″ x 36″ • collection of the artist.

Another unfinished variation on the Arcadian theme, started in the late winter of 2008 shortly before tackling the larger version shown above. Both versions lack the figures that were part of the original idea, as seen in the sketch below. Reason for their not being there? lack of confidence in my abilities to bring those dancing, cavorting figures to believable life. The new painting done last week convinced me that I’m ready to complete these panels at last.

DreamsofArcadyOriginalScanWPArcadian Dreaming • pencil and markers on vellum tracing paper 4″ x 26″ • collection of the artist. This is the original sketch drawn in 1988 which has provided the inspiration for all successive attempts at revelation of the delights of Arcadian reverie. Now is the time…

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