Walchensee, Lovis Corinth
I just bought the catalogue from the show of German Impressionist Landscape Painting currently at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. Slevogt and Liebermann were inspiring, but not as much as Lovis Corinth. His landscapes combine perfectly the the joy of seeing a landscape combined with the joy of painting a landscape. A place and a moment are captured, yet they dance with painterliness. This is what I want to do with my own landscapes, for example in Monkey Island Soccer and After the Election.
Monkey Island Soccer, S.K. Smith
Such painterly landscapes usually begin with a marked impression of a place, the inspiration. They start with excitement, head into complete confusion and ugliness, and then somehow when I am lucky the original inspiration makes it's way through the slow frenzy with a beautiful distortion of shape, texture and color. That's what makes the painting something more than a photograph. Also, as with Monkey Island, the painting might include so many perspectives, that a camera could not create such a composition.
Portrait of Wilhelmine
The Lovis Corinth paintings absorbed me totally and led me to pull out my catalogue from the 1996 Berlin exhibition of Lovis Corinth. Here is one of my favorite portraits. It is so loose and simple. Yet Corinth's daughter is timeless. Again, I have tried many times to create similar portraits. Capturing a moment, an individual, an expression and yet keeping a painting loose and full of painterly elements. One of my favorite passages in the Corinth catalogue is in reference to a portrait of his children Thomas and Wilhelmine. Wilhelmine recalls that the portrait was begun on a Sunday and that her father did not manage to complete it in one day. When she reminded him she had to go to school the next day, he gave her an apology note so she could stay at home the next day because he was afraid that after a week the paint might be too dry. According to Wilhelmine, the note 'stated that "for technical reasons", a portrait once started had to be completed without interruption. '