Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A White Mussel Shell On A Gravel Bank

You look at my pictures—Christina’s World, The Patriot, Miss Olson—there’s witchcraft and hidden meaning there. Halloween and all that is strangely tied into them. For me, the paintings have that eerie feeling of goblins and witches out riding on broomsticks—damp rotting leaves and moisture—smell of make-up—as a child, the smell inside of a pumpkin when a candle is lit—the feel of your face under a mask walking down a road in the moonlight. I love all that, because then I don’t exist anymore. To me it’s almost like getting inside of my hound, Rattler, and walking around the country looking at it through his eyes.

What I’m trying to say is that I start every painting with an emotion—something I’ve just got to get out. These immaculately painted things—you’d think I was a very calm mathematician. Truth is, I use tempera partly because it’s such a dull medium—those minute strokes put a brake on my real nature—messiness. My wild side that’s really me comes out in my watercolors—especially of snow, which is absolutely intoxicating to me. I’m electrified by it—the hush—unbelievable. A white mussel shell on a gravel bank in Maine is thrilling to me because it’s all the sea—the gull that brought it there, the rain, the sun that bleached it there by a stand of spruce trees.

Andrew Wyeth
quoted in The Art Of Andrew Wyeth

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