Why I Think I Am Painting Hearts

I actually don’t know too much about Jim Dine’s work, except I know that he paints hearts.  Knowing that, I actually avoided looking at his work, because I wanted to paint hearts too and I didn’t want to be discouraged, or worried that I was copying.  Recently I found this quote by him:

“I always need to find some theme, some tangible subject matter besides the paint itself.  Otherwise I would have been an abstract artist.  I need that hook…Something to hang my landscape on”.  Jim Dine in Jim Dine: Five Themes, 1984

I also like to have some theme or symbol to work with, in combination with landscape.  I’ve actually always treated the landscape as a venue through which my imagination can work.  I’ve used a number of symbols throughout the years, such as; fish, houses, chairs and now also hearts.

This also reminds me of David Blackwood’s “Ephraim Kelloway door” – a subject he has been painting for twenty years.  Blackwood calls the door, “an icon of unlimited potential that continues to provide me with an architectural framework on which to hang all the components of painting.”  To interesting story of the door is written here.  I actually saw the old decrepit door for real, at the recent David Blackwood exhibition at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

My impetus to create heart images started with painting house shapes.  I was thinking about the concept of “home” and thought: “What really makes me feel grounded or at home?”  And it’s not the physical manifestation of a house, but it’s something inside of myself – a certain feeling or connection within to something bigger.  It’s like when I am being creative, am with my family or outside in nature, then I feel at home.  That feeling is linked with having a strong heart, a strong love for life – a love for yourself and for others around you.  That is ultimately what I am exploring and strengthening with my heart paintings.

Image:  Where Home Is, acrylic on board, 12″ x 12″


10. July 2013 by Tracy Kobus
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