Monday, September 23, 2013

Suspending Action: Ponder, Poise, Balance

"Poise to Ponder" by Jim Carpenter, Acrylic on Paper, 7" x 9"

Painting #20 Day #23 in the 30 in 30 Challenge

I can't believe this is painting #20.  How interesting it has been for me to watch these small paintings take on various formats and configurations.  

The title of this painting is "Ponder."  To ponder means to weigh something mentally before making a decision or before coming to a conclusion.  The three figures in the painting may be poised to make a decision, although I see some slight movement in the third figure on the right, as if he is moving to a place to think on his own.   Interestingly enough the root of "ponder" is the Latin verb ponderare which means to consider or to weigh [mentally.] Weight is in the balance here, in terms of the composition of the painting as well as the meaning of the words ponder and poise, both of which trace their roots back to words that relate specifically to weight and weighing.  

The main character in this painting is the figure on the right.  He is he one whose pondering we are being asked to consider.  He is facing the viewer; one can make out some expression on his face.  He seems to have more weight than the other two figures combined and seems to be closer to the viewer.  I see him as moving into position - a little further to the right is where he will finish, and then the scene will be balanced.  But for now he is suspended in motion, poised, and likely will move after a moment's pause.  At least, that's how I see it.  Are my days as a stage director showing?  


  1. Hi Jim, I finally got Akismet to fix the wrong they did to my account and now I can comment on your blog! Yeah!
    I'm now starting to feel a little jealous of all of you turning out paintings daily. Alan has been at home since last Thursday and I haven't been able to paint anything with two little ones home! I'm falling VERY behind!


    1. Lucy! Hi! I'm glad you got that straightened out. Well, I guess all I needed to read was that I made you jealous, because yesterday I didn't post anything and today I it was really tough going turning something out. The pressure is on! :-)

  2. I love in your work I get a great sense always of something going on that is "of heaven and earth"

  3. At first glance, in the thumbnail, it looked to me as if the lone figure was walking away from us. Off to think on his own. Looking again, yes, he is facing us. And very much on his own path. And secure in traveling alone. Now that I know a bit of your background, I do see a stage setting in this, and it makes your work all the more interesting to me. Wonderful!


    1. Thank you, Sheila. I really enjoyed working on this painting - although it was a challenge trying to figure out how to balance it. When I was finished with it I too understood that I was pulling notions from my background in the theatre. I'm glad you like this painting.

  4. Replies
    1. Hi Susan,
      This painting has already sold. Thank you for asking!
      Happy New Year!