Thursday, September 25, 2014

On Being Idle: Star Gazing, Daydreaming, Painting

"Memory" by Jim Carpenter, Acrylic on Crescent Board, 17 1/4" x 20"

"Gazing at the stars opens our minds to another reality. a mysterious eternal world, beyond material struggle." - Tom Hodgkinson

Day 25 - The Crowd Appears

It is day 25 of the 30 Day Challenge, and I'm a couple of paintings behind, but my boss is ok with it. I took two days to finish "Memory" to my liking. So many decisions go into making a painting, and when there is a deadline of sorts, decisions that I normally might put off to "never" get made within 25 hours. I took a box cutter to the painting early in the morning and cut off about 180 square inches. And later in the day I eliminated a couple of figures and also set about delineating the space the figures inhabit - this vague mysterious environment hinting of doorways, arches, light, passages.

Hodgkinson has a chapter in How to Be Idle titled Midnight: The Moon and The Stars, in which he writes about the importance of star gazing in the life of the idler, of how contemplating the stars "reconnects us with the childlike sense of wonder at the mysteries of the universe."  In a similar way, painting can reconnect the artist with the childlike sense of wonder one has about the mysteries of the universe. Perhaps it can also awaken or reconnect that same sense of wonder in the viewer.  I suspect that those who create works of art in any medium - music, dance, theatre, visual art, literature - have a generous sense of wonder driving them to explore and create.  What do you think?  


  1. I think you are right Jim. That little voice that says, "What if I..." I think it is strong in creatives. Did you mean to have the two figures on the right edge? The dark patch, seems to be one stepping in, the white is his head. and the next to him is a woman leaning back a bit... or Is it just me seeing things again? I love this, the colors and so much activity. I can hear the hushed voices, deep in conversation. Wondering if the lone figures are joining, or retreating... Happy weekend to you Jim!

    1. Hi Sheila, you are right, there are figures on the right edge. I decided not to delineate them, but to leave them there for those who want to pull them out - or see them. I went through various versions on the edge there - and decided that to bring the figures on the edge into too much clarity would pull the eye - and yet I didn't want to obliterate them. So I left the suggestion. I am so happy that you get the mystery of this painting. Thank you for being such a wonderful painting buddy! - Jim