Thursday, October 18, 2012


When I am creating a painting it is not the image that I think is of principal import. I feel it is the paint itself that is my subject matter. My voice.

A detail from the preliminary stage of the 8'x8' oil on canvas painting "The Bridge- Over Troubled Water" (San Luis Obispo) By Velvet Marshall 

I had purchased tickets months in advance to experience what is still one of the most lavish exhibits I have ever seen in LA. "Van Gogh's Van Goghs" in 1999 exhibited at LACMA--in part because of the crowds it attracted and in part because of the artist’s inscrutability. I had seen his work in many books but nothing could have prepared me for the real thing. Standing in the drizzling rain an hour or two, waiting in line before the mad rush of arms, elbows and heads bobbing when they opened the doors. Fortunately, I had gone with another artist, my daughter Nastassia, who knew that art appreciation is not to be rushed. Rounding the last corner of the exhibit in front of me was the “Wheat Fields” and immediately I was consumed, transported to another dimension with every stroke of paint. I slowly and against all conventionality, wrapped my arms around my waist and with a heavy sigh, I sobbed. After each stage of his life had been retold corridor-by-corridor, the exquisite agony had finally come to a conclusion on a French countryside.  I would never look at paint the same again. In the most basic human way, he reached out with his pallet knife and touched me. Some decades of years in between us-- a transmission sent and received-- I understood there was a way for me to be free. A place where I could go and allow the paint to speak for me- the things for which I had no words.

Me-  begining the painting process on "The Bridge"

Wheatfield with Crows, 1890 Vincent van Gogh