Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Metaphor

"Summer Blues" by Jim Carpenter, Acrylic on Paper, 15" x 11"

Risk Taking Made Easy

I could write about how brave I was back in 2010 to risk such a free-for-all of color as I see in this painting. I was painting the hydrangea blossoms the way I really saw them - bursting with color and to my mind demanding more mid value color to surround them. It is a bold painting, that's for sure. Nothing subtle about it. Cadmium Red, Metallic Gold, Brilliant Blue.  Every now and then you really do need to let loose.  

But it really wasn't all that risky. How big is the risk if you never show the painting?

Timing Is Everything

Clearly this painting came before I got into the knack of rubbing out all of the color, but not long before.  "Summer Blues" is another transitional painting on the cusp of the floral painter slinking into the underground while the figure painter came out to take center stage.  You can tell by the signature, the use of the original stamp I made, and the introduction of metallic gold paint.  You'll see echoes of this painting in the new collection of florals I'm introducing in the near future. A single vase.  Impressions of flowers.  Low horizon suggested by just a line.  I expect with time these elements will morph into something new.

This was among the last "hydrangeas in a vase" images I painted - years earlier I produced a series of paintings based on the hydrangeas that grew in my cousin Richard's garden - shrubs that towered over me and produced huge blossoms ranging in color from deep blue to purple and some rusty orange where the petals began to die. To stand in front of those shrubs was to be bathed in rich color.  I must have taken a hundred photos of those flowers. None of them came close to satisfying me - they all fell short of my experience of the beauty in those flowers.

How do you capture or express the lived experience of being in the presence of the flowers? I think that is really what "Summer Blues" is all about.  This painting is my metaphor for what it is like for me to experience the beauty of flowers. 

It's Never Too Late To Risk It

"Summer Blues" had one outing into to the public - for a couple of hours. I did not have an opportunity to show it again, since I had stopped painting florals. And so now I am taking the risk by writing about it and by posting it on my blog - and tweeting it - and putting it on Pinterest - and on my website in a new gallery "Florals" where the painting is available for $185. [UPDATE 7/27/2014 Painting has now been sold.]


  1. First of all, I love this painting. I love the bold colors, the warm and cool contrast, it's all good. I think it's amazing, that as artists we feel like we have to hide ourselves away, that being our true selves or painting from the heart is a risk. Shouldn't we be free? Free to do paint what our heart feels, what our eyes see... I can so relate. I love the fact that when you painted this, you just cut loose and painted what you wanted. I have a strong desire to just throw caution to the wind (my fears and insecurities) and just let my brush take me on a completely new adventure. Jim, paint flowers or whatever you heart desires and you will be rewarded for it, you have so much talent!!

    1. Shelby! Thank you so much for your response. Yes, we should be free, and for the life of me I don't understand how I keep putting restrictions on myself. I am always moved by the risk taking when I see it in others - in performance and in art. I was actually surprised when the clouds cleared and I realized that not showing my florals and not painting florals was actually a blockage - something I had to break through. I'm setting myself up for the 30 day challenge now. I haven't nailed it down yet, but I think that taking some big risks is what I am going to challenge myself to do. We should be free. Actually, we are free if we allow ourselves to be. Thanks again for commenting. You are a good art buddy! :-)

  2. Replies
    1. Hi Sheila,
      Thank you for letting me know that! By the way, I went to your design store! What great things you have on there! I don't know how you do it, but they sure are nice. And I loved the flowerpots! :-) Synchronicity! Right!

    2. Wow Jim, thanks so much for checking it out.! ha ha

  3. Paint what you need to paint at the moment. This really sings, clearly you are a musical fellow! Show it, show it, show it. Your mystical figures in the mists are wonderful, but this splash of bold color is also worthy.

  4. Bronle, thank you for this. What a great boost of encouragement! I like "paint what you need to paint at the moment!" So funny, I AM a musical fellow who ultimately turned to Shakespeare only to cap it all off with a musical. What's that all about? Is this a pattern? I feel another blog post coming on. LOL!