In the Studio Today: The Meaning of a Painting

Tuesday, June 5:

With my latest painting, retitled: "Beauty in What's Left Behind"

I entered this painting (see my previous post) into the juried "Still Life" exhibit where I work.  It was not selected from the 200 entries... wow, 200 entries.  They could only pick about 40 pieces for the exhibit, so I don't feel too badly today.  You never know what will inspire each juror or the quality of the works entered.  There is no point in deliberating over a show rejection-- just move on to the next one!

I was thinking more about the meaning of this painting to me today, and how it highlights a place not that many people seem to know about from the Bay Area.  What should be so significant about Salt Point to San Franciscan's is that it is the place where they removed rock to use in the building of the streets of San Francisco in the 1800's.  I was also thinking about "emptiness", "cavities", "convex forms"....  Beauty in the hollowed out spaces that are left behind when something dies?  We love shells, which are shiny, colorful and beautiful remains of what once was.  These hollowed out tafoni rock formations look almost skull-like, mimicking the cavities in the eye-sockets of a skull we might see on Halloween or Day of the Dead.  The only thing here that is alive is the Rhododendron, but it's blossom is ephemeral, and it too will fade, leaving behind only the empty vase.

This piece speaks to the beauty in things that are left behind, empty and now transformed into something completely unique, for us humans to marvel at.  We go to the beach and hunt for treasures left behind by other creatures.  It is a very lovely and thoughtful thing to collect seashells by the seashore.  Imagine if there was nothing left behind for us to collect and marvel at?

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