Monday, March 07, 2016

Painting Triad

Painting with O'Keeffe
John D. Poling
ISBN:  0-89672-381-X

I hate to even tag this with the "Good Books" label, but it was an informative read.  Perhaps the additional, "Screw You Department" will also suffice.

I found this book at the library, at the end of my favorite go-to shelves of 740-759.  (Watercolor 751.422)  The title, "Painting with O'Keeffe" and a quick flip through made it sound interesting enough to check out.  However, it was not what I thought it would be.

To begin with, Poling is not the best book writer.  No offense and I am a fast reader, it took about 30 minutes to decide to keep reading.  If you can stay with it, you'll learn about some the eccentricities  of artists and their orbiting realm of people.  Friendship, jealousy, accusations, bitterness.  Usually the makings of a romance novel.  Not of an attempting tell-all.  What was Poling trying to accomplish?  Other than to tell his side of the story perpetuated by O'Keeffe and Juan Hamilton.  I honestly thought  the paintings' titles "A Day with Juan" was about John Poling - an endearing nickname O'Keeffe had for him?  Wrong!

You may just want to skip through until you get to the painting part, which is a good lesson applicable to artists of any medium.  Seeing how O'Keeffe planned her paintings and a shout-out reference to the Pigment chapter of Max Doerner's "The Materials of the Artist and Their Use in Painting" was an interesting peek behind the curtain for me.
The pettiness and resentfulness on all the players' parts - not so much.  Why is it necessary to bring this up over 20 years later?  How is this relevant beyond proving the naivet√© of the 70's and someone trying his hand to claim of fame.  Without context, what is truth?

Be sure to read the two articles by Hope Aldrich from The Santa Fe Reporter in the Appendix (B & C)  You may want to read them first, then the book and come to your own opinion.
(And learn how to say, "Abiquiu")

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