Remember me on this computer
Maria Xagorari
About this artwork
Plant Pots
atlacol glue on paper
h.30cm w.33cm d.0cm
Jun 2009

Maria's Description: As I said I am going through a little crisis with my new work. I have decided to find myself some models for the large figure paintings to have some visual input to play with. While I wait for this to happen I do something I haven't thought I would do again. Paint objects from life just to keep me active and as Hanjo once said, do my "every day piano player exercise".

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2009-06-08 09:40

Well Maria, neither what I have seen in your studiolog nor these studies looks exactly like a crisis. Obviously you are exploring brighter colours and what light does with them just as you have announced at the beginning of the year. And looking at what you see from your window it indeed would be a pity if you weren’t exploring this kind of firework instead of being fixed to grey and dark brown.
Talking about crisis I sometimes have the feeling that in a way one is in a crisis permanently as a painter. If one is doing this business with a routine and without any doubts something seems to be terribly wrong.
What you have shown so far looks promising and I am convinced that something interesting will come out of your struggle.

2009-06-09 23:18

Nice still life.

And I like the painting you're working on in your studio log, you just have to have the courage and confidence to keep going and go where no man (or Maria) has gone before. I know your impulse, it would be mine as well, to try to find additional visual information. Maybe you should just continue the way you're going for now and work as far as you can from your imagination as an experiment. What's the worst that can happen, a huge mess and some wasted material? At the very least you'll finally find out whether you can work that way or not and put yourself out of your agony.

I guarantee that even if you get your models the painting will undergo so much change it will end up being something entirely different anyway.

2009-06-10 09:40

Hello Maria,about your work in your studiolog,keep going,the colours you are using in this last work are reminding me somehow of the old flemish masters,and the figures don't stand on there own,there is a background now ,that's interesting,but sometimes one goes through this process of asking and wondering,after that a solution often appears as out of the blue as it seems,go on you are making beautifull work

2009-06-11 11:05

Maria, quería comentarte el cuadro grande pero no he tenido la ocasión, hoy puedo hacerlo. Lo voy a hacer en español, para variar, y porque me lleva menos tiempo. La primera vez que ví la pintura me recordó y me hizo sentir algo del "joie de vivre" de las pinturas de Matisse. Me gustó la combinación de los rojos planos y cómo confluían con los azules de las figuras, (sobretodo la de la derecha), el cuadro transmitía o yo lo recibía así, más una idea que una situación específica. El frescor, la tranquilidad, la sensualidad mediterránea. Yo no eliminaría esos rojos, y mucho menos los cambiaría por blancos, ya que el blanco en primer lugar acerca la superficie saltándose digamos el orden del espacio, y én segundo lugar lucha con la luz del fondo por protagonismo, con lo cual se pierde el efecto general de la semi-sombra acogedora a salvo de la luz cegadora del exterior. Los rojos te unían toda la composición, y el blanco no produce en ningún caso el mismo efecto vigorizante de un rojo de cadmio.
Tampoco utilizaría modelos para las figuras,(si he entendido bien la idea de lo que quieres) iría más hacia formas simples y planas.
La planta verde que tienes en primer plano me desconcierta porque tiene mucha luz, yo mantendría los verdes pero bajaría la altura tonal, y en general intentaría mantener una altura tonal baja y parecida, en las zonas de sombra, lo cual te permite trabajar con zonas muy saturadas y diferentes de color sin que se produzcan sensaciones de volumen.
Me gusta la sensación compositiva de las curvas centradas (las líneas de las sillas) aunque ,para mí, se repiten mucho (las curvas) en la zona izquierda (la opuesta a la de la planta) quizá allí mantendría la superficie roja recta , por romper un poco con tanta curva pequeña. Creo que a medida que lo continúes se podrán comentar más cosas, incluso podríamos invitar a nuestra amiga Montse a que se pronuncie al respecto en español, (de vez en cuando los demás pueden hacer también un ejercicio de traducción).
Me gusta la obra y por eso te doy mi opinión ( y porque has pedido comentarios), en realidad comentar es un ejercicio superficial, porque lo primero que habría que saber es la idea que ha generado el cuadro, tu objetivo, y aún así nunca coincidiríamos en la forma de hacerlo, pero bueno , siempre vienen bien distintos puntos de vista, no? Me gusta la intención que se lee entre líneas, (simplificar, perder el hilo que nos ata a la realidad definida que tenemos en la cabeza ) y me espolea a intentar algo parecido, pero qué difícil es simplificar verdad? es mucho mas fácil hablar .
Por cierto, me gustan mucho estos pequeños cuadros,son frescos y espontáneos y me encanta que el negro haya desaparecido prácticamente de tu paleta. perdona mi ignorancia pero qué es "atlacol glue"??

2009-06-11 12:12

Well, I fully agree with Karen. For me too the red seems to be essential. At least I was so happy to find such a bright colour in one of your paintings. And this red gives the painting the warmth and joy that corresponds with the figures. These figures in my opinion do not need to be so close to life that you would need a model to make them perfect. I wanted to write some lines about this but was interrupted by the need to travel to Amsterdam. Now, after being back again I find that Karen had just the same opinion. Okay, everything is already said so far. So the only thing I can add is to encourage you to keep on following the path you’re on already.

2009-06-13 10:40

My dear friends, thanks for your comments. Renilde, welcome aboard.
Karen, you are really being very helpful. Being specific on what looks good to you on a work and what doesn’t is what we need here among painters. You know, the elimination of the reds was an attempt to make work the colours of the ground. Apparently, it wasn’t very successful and, yes, it did kill the green of the background. I think you are right also about the excessive repetition of the parallel curves on the left. I saw that myself. There used to be another leaf there but I thought it were too decorative a repetition with the other leaf opposite it so I took that out and I am happy with the space left there. I need to manage the shapes and lines there better. It is not easy because abstract and imaginary as they may be, all these shapes must allude to shade from the figure and chair. This doesn’t mean I want them to be realistic, and this goes for the figures too. I want the whole thing to allude to summer and a fresh garden in the afternoon heat and a calm conversation and the “joie de vivre” as you say, which by the way, except Matisse, I find in the works of Panayotis Tetsis, a great Greek painter, one of those whom I have been studying lately, and unfortunately one CANNOT appreciate on a screen the same way one cannot appreciate Turner on a screen. So those of you who will look him up on the internet don’t jump to conclusions. Wait until you get in Greece and I will take you to see some of this thrilling painting.

About the model, I am not really thinking of using one in order to make the figures on these paintings realistic. I don’t need painting from life because of some fear to let go the known path and experiment. Instead, I need them to make studies from life so that I can later manipulate, keep certain elements and throw away others, in order to help create my own figures. I guess this is what Hillel means too. Nature has always been the greatest teacher and there is no significant art, no matter how abstract, that hasn’t been born out of the fermentation of nature’s forms in the artistic mind. And really I want the model for the other work, the one with the multiple figures standing. It is not very easy to describe my objective, Karen, not because of a difficulty in putting it in words, but because I have grown impatient. Writing has become a little difficult for me lately. Can you believe I get restless and can’t sit in front of the computer long enough? Ha, ha.

Anyway, here are some brief hints that maybe Fotini can decipher more easily. The painting of Panayotis Tetsis with his brilliance of light and his all so rich surfaces (not possible to view online), Giannis Moralis with his geometrical compositions so full of a fresh interpretation of ancient basso rilievi on tomb stones(this you can look up online), Giannis Tsarouhis with his use of ancient masters’ palette; the ancient Greek relief sculpture itself, the stone walls which hide beautiful gardens behind them on my island, the summer light. All these elements I try to combine and I don’t have a theory to precede the painting this time, because I haven’t got the slightest idea of what the work that will eventually express what I am after will look like. I’ll tell you when I get there. Or, better, you will know what I am talking about, when I myself find it.

2009-06-13 20:03

Well I can understand why you are studing Tetsis, his color is masterful and he lets it breathe although he uses intense hues very often.It is a good thing to let the work guide you,it might lead somewhere unexpected.

2009-06-15 01:28

Hi Maria, I enjoy speaking with you again. I postulate myself, with your permission, the mascot of the "club of Madrid” which I attended since its foundation in the cafeteria of the Reina Sofia Museum. I will comment your picture because I have been directly invited by Karen to do that-I thank her very much-.
She knows that I read your interesting discussions and sometimes I have repressed the desire to speak for lack of time to translate my thoughts into English, then she has had to suffer my considerations in private.

I am also very glad to see you embarked on a new challenge. You call it crisis, but I agree with Hanjo that an artist is always in crisis. The crisis is the tension needed to create.

I like your "black paintings", especially Unawares, and your search for the color emerging from the shadow- in my opinion a very difficult task. I am also a great fan of "black" Goya. But I should accept that an artist grows up experimenting in many directions.

I am sympathetic with your present efforts because I am also painting things very different from those I have been painting till now. I have been trained into chiaroscuro tradition and now I face the challenge of finding the volume through the highly filled colors. Fortunately Karen is ready to encourage me.

So I encourage you in your goal of to fill your paintings of color and light following the line of Tetsis. Who I'd like to see in the original. The past month I was in London seeing Turner´s paintings and I agree with your opinion. But it doesn’t only happen to them, I would say that it happens to any painting. The eye does not only need an image, but the matter. The eye needs to "touch" the paint.

I think we all agree on the color red subject. It is very fortunate that the red color bathes the figures. Remember that glow when the bodies are pierced by sunlight.
Regarding the composition, the horizontal line across the picture and the circle formed by the figures and the chairs fit well to your purpose to transmit placidity, even though I would shade the legs of the chairs to make this circularity less obvious and dull . Although this is only my opinion but the picture isn´t mine.

About natural models I agree with Hillel and you. I believe that natural is always the best starting point. Nothing more complex and rich than life. The same model allows us to create endless pictures without ever repeating. To be confident with our mental images, especially when creating an invented composition, is not always useful because our mind by default simplifies reality. Our mind is designed to abstract. The nature allows us to play in the direction of our intentions in each moment. So I invite you to create your own shapes from studies of life.

At last, I think the only thing you need to reach your ends is to use your enthusiasm, wisdom and intuition, as you did till now. Good voyage.

2009-06-15 08:55

Montse! How nice to hear from you! Thanks for your comments. As you might have seen on the studio log, I already started working with the model and slowly slowly I will collect visual information to get back to this painting and turn it inside out again. It is good having you guys around while doing all this. Thanks.


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