studying gorky...and tree bark / by Philip Tarlow

study of tree bark 25.2x17.2cm  gouache on paper

2:13 PM: it's been dark & pouring rain all morning, so i took the unusual step of turning on my lights. i rarely work under artificial light, but i really wanted to make this study of tree bark, from a photo posted on facebook by my friend sarah. as you can see, it's intimately connected to the study i made yesterday of a gorky painting, and to what's going on in my end of summer series. i've reached a point in that series where studies such as these may light my way.

study after gorky's the limit, painted yesterday


11 AM: recently i've been looking a lot at the work of archile gorky, the armenian-american painter born in armenia as asdanig adoian. i feel a connection to him on many levels, which i can discuss at a later date. for now, lets say there's a lot i have to learn from him. because he too was passionate about imagery derived from natural animal and plant forms, and was able to translate this passion into his well known whimsical/lyrical painterly abstractions, i decided to go beyond just looking at reproductions and attempt a small gouache study of one of my favorite paintings: the limit, painted in 1947 in oil on paper mounted on canvas, 157.5 x 128.9 cm.

9-21-17 plein air gouache, 9.5x7"

my study is small: 9.5x24"/13x33cm. in gouache on paper. i learned more making this little study than i could have in looking for hours at reproductions, or even at the actual painting. this is how i learn best. before returning to the latest late summer series painting, rain, i plan on making one more study, and then see how it affects my work.

BELOW: looking at this 8x7.5" plein air gouache painted on september 21, 2017 at north crestone creek, it's easy to see why i feel so connected to gorky right now.




today, rather than making a study of the gorky painting i had planned, i'm going to make a small gouache study based on this extraordinary photo of tree bark, posted on facebook by my friend sarah.