Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Inspired by Inness and Tennyson

Experience is an Arch, 24x30, acrylic on  linen, Jan Blencowe, copyright, 2011 
view this painting in a sample frame on my website

Th Alban Hills, 1873, George Inness

Ever since I first saw this George Inness painting with a central archway formed by trees in the near middle ground inviting the viewer to wander through I have wanted to use this motif in a painting.

I kept my eyes open for a situation like this one and was rewarded last fall.

As soon as I came upon this line of trees in the marsh it instantly reminded me of Inness' painting the Alban Hills.  I decided on a medium large canvas 24x30, and decided to continue my exlorations of leaving portions of the watercolor like underpainitng showing in some areas and adding some wildlife to the piece.Can you see the Eastern Cottontail in the lower left?

I wanted to say a word here about using another artwork or a photograph (that's not one you've taken yourself) as inspiration for a painting you create. This is a good example of what is actually permissible. I borrowed a concept. The concept of using trees that form an arch as a motif in my painting.  If the Inness painting were a photograph I came across on the internet I could still have created the painting I did, borrowing the concept. BUT I could not have copied the photograph and simply changed a bit of the color or added building etc. so that my painting was a close copy of someone's photo with just a few obvious changes. The same goes for using another artists painting as inspiration, you can use the concept of the painting (trees that form an arch) but what you create has to be a totally new and original piece of work.  Now Inness' work is in the public domain, like Van Gogh, Monet etc. and artists can and often do make copies of masterworks for clients who want a hand painted version rather than a print. I wanted to give a good example of using another artists work (painting or photograph) as inspiration in a legitimate way by further exploring a concept they use in your own work. 

OK new topic. This whole archway concept made me think of this portion of the Poem Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. I've given a nod to Tennyson's poem in the painting's title.

I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch where-through
Gleams that untraveled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this grey spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

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