Friday, 18 March 2011

The Village Under Frost

        Outside, the night is falling and the full moon has pulled herself up just above the houses.  But tonight I will not write you a meandering little passage about the moon.  Instead I will present you with a painting finished recently.  Maybe it is the sister of a painting I finished about a year ago, which I have written about before.  It is true that the two paintings were started at around the same time.  This time last year, I thought I would surely have them both done before summer.  How to explain this long period between brushstrokes, I do not know.  


But in a way, this was the perfect time to finish this painting.  Last weekend's surprise blizzards and my absorption in this painting's wintry landscape have allowed me to indulge in that last bit of winter I was secretly craving. 


   I often like to set myself a tight colour scheme to follow for each painting.  Winter scenes are lovely for all their reddish browns, ochres and greys.  Bare branches and barren fields are very underrated from an aesthetic point of view, I think.  And I love how cloudy skies make colours seem richer, earthier.  


   The particularities of this landscape were heavily influenced by a winter visit to Romania a few years back.  I remain fascinated by that country.  The old wooden churches and hoar frosts, the misty strangeness of the countryside while everyone sits indoors huddled around their giant tiled wood stoves for warmth.  

But the setting could have been different too.


   And then, these hands you see holding onto these branches could instead be raking them across the sky, or pulling them across the earth.  I suppose both this painting and its "sister" painting are of moments a little like that.  


    I find myself wondering if I've gotten giantesses out of my system now, or if they will be making their return some foggy day in the future.  But this evening, I think it best to leave that aside, and instead go out for a walk in the lovely moonlight. 


  1. Oh !!! Jodi this is soooo incredibly beautiful and strong !!! I LOVE IT !!!
    It is just perfect. Nothing more to say :-)

  2. Jodi i am loving this painting!

  3. Still this : it is a gorgeous feast, and, in my eyes, clearly a kind of work that can only emerge from the spirit and hands of a woman.

    And in your case it is also a deep and clear spirit and strong loving hands :-)

    I often recognize the female source in women's art and wonder about it, but it is true, I think.

  4. Beautiful - and slightly haunting. The other painting is amazing as well. Glad you got a bit more winter to satisfy your craving. Bare branches and earthy wintery tones do inspire me so!

  5. Heisann!

    What a fascinating piece of art. I was looking to and from these details, checking out the details, again and again.
    I also thought the shine of the moon was enormous last night. Will I fall to sleep in this light, I thought!I did, because I was exhausted, this week has been so busy!
    Have a nice evening and Sunday ;:OD)

  6. Hamadryads and Dryads have long captured my imagination; I love the thought of this one raking in the snow clouds in answer to your craving to complete her. Hoping you continue to be inspired by giants Jodi.

    I also love the thought that there just might be eyes peeping out from beneath that tower.

    ... I've been waiting for the moon but it would seem a local giant has decided to do her washing she's drip drying french grey linen sheets over my head - I love such days. Smiles to you*!*

  7. Barbara,

    I'm so glad you like the painting! Each time I put up a post about something I've made I always feel a bit anxious. I'm sure that's pretty normal.

    The idea of women's art is something that I think about a lot too. I feel a little split in two by the idea. On the one hand, so many of the artists whose work I love and respect most are women. And I completely understand what you mean when you talk about the "female source" in such art... it seems like there is something there, some sort of mysterious common thread that is so interesting and important. I am attracted so strongly to works like these, and I wouldn't know how to begin to explain any of it.

    But then, on the other hand, I am always afraid and upset by the potential for marginalization that seems, unfortunately, to go along with women's art. To be honest, as I was working on this painting, while I let part of it dry for a few days between layers I found myself looking at it an awful lot and thinking about this very thing. It seemed to me that this painting had something about it which was particularly female. And just then, it worried me and shamed me somehow... like it could not be considered a "real" painting. I started thinking about all those things you hear, about how women can't really be artists because they lack some sort of aesthetic sensibility or they get too caught up in motherhood, and all those things like that. I don't believe these things of course, but it is certainly upsetting that ideas like this pass around as much as they have an do. I mean, I know it is really irrelevant in the end -- these outside ideas and judgments, they have nothing to do with what is important in creating paintings or any form of art -- and so I wish I could say thoughts like that don't every now and again creep in to trouble me. At least it doesn't happen too often, and I can move past it.

    What do you think about all this? I'm not sure you were thinking about the more external, critical response that sometimes gets attached to women's art, but, instead, about the more interesting, and better questions that it seems to evoke, so you don't need to talk about the other thing at all. Though I would be also be interested to know if that is something that you think about ever.

  8. Aaron, welcome... and I'm touched that you like the painting!

    Valerianna, thank you. You'll have a bit longer to enjoy the winter colours, where you are, I think! It's a lovely thing to be able to appreciate all the seasons... I've never understood people that hate winter and complain on and on about it.

    Vilt, thanks! And apparently the moon is closer to the earth than it has been in the last twenty years right now, and so it seems bigger and brighter... so I guess that explains it! Last night I think it was even more gorgeous than the night I wrote this post. Was it like that in Norway too? You aren't really sooo far away, after all...

    Annie, thank you for your lovely comment. I hope you can catch a look at the moon tonight, though these swathes of grey linen sound rather romantic to me too.

    Happy Equinox! Here come the long days!

  9. Hello Jodi, what a pleasure to reciprocate and enter your world.

  10. Dear Jodi, when I spoke of the "female source" I meant "the mysterious common thread that is so interesting and important" and difficult to explain.

    I am not aware of marginalization of such work, because I completely concentrate on my own work and the work I admire and on the people who love me and my work - and I do know that other people might have a different taste but that's not my business, right?

    Maybe that is where these mystical earthly female works of art come from : bent over our fire of heart, peering in our cooking pot of the imagery that we grew in our garden and received from the woods, we prepare the best meal we can to feed our kind : our soul and all dear creatures who live there. Then you can be inspired by giantesses - they don't hear such critical response I'm sure.

    Other men and women work in a different way in a different world of ideas about art and meaning.

  11. Surely that must be the recipe! It's always lovely to hear your wonderful, centred comments.

  12. Oh My! You have a talent! I don't think you have posted any paintings since I've been a reader here. And this one sure tugged at my heartstrings, what a first impression of your skills to leave in my mind! It's beautiful and rooted. What fascinating imagery. Your brush strokes leap off the canvas at me!

  13. I imagine you know the work of Clarissa Pinkola Estes? She wrote "Women Who Run with the Wolves". Something in your response to Barbara got me thinking about a book on tape that she made called "The Creative Fire"... I listened to it many moons ago while working in my studio. I LOVE her work.
    I just finished listening to her latest - "The Dangerous Old Woman". I think every woman - and man for that matter - who ever doubts, should listen to these to be reminded of their magnificence. I played it in my class last week and my students LOVED it. Definitely worth listening to... she's such a wonderful storyteller that I recommend the CD to hear her majesty!

  14. Summertime, ooh la, you're right, it's been a good long while since I finished any oil paintings. Too long! I am very pleased that you liked it though!

    Valerianna, I know *of* the work of Estes, though maybe "Women Who Run with the Wolves" is my book that got away. I've heard people reference it so many, many times and I always think I should probably see what all the talk is about, but so far I haven't got around to it. I'll have to look around the library I think, and see if I can't find one or all three of those titles you mentioned. Thanks!

  15. wow, this is really fantastic--
    what a towering figure, and those clouds are so perfectly, mysteriously rendered over the village. i love the colors, i love the textures of it--those building shapes and the little trees....
    really beautiful!