November 30th – the end of the month and the end of many hours of work, sittings, and polishing my little Italian!
This year I chose not to make a case study of a person I know but of one I have only seen in town: a friendly local chef working a door down the gallery. His name is not Mr. Blok, neither his first name is Jozef. Yet, you must wonder why I’ve called this piece “Another Mr. Blok,” and the answer to this question is the story behind this painting.
It was about 4 years ago when I became obsessed with the works of Van Gogh, one of my favorite painters. I remembered I used to know only his later work: the starry night, wheat fields, and sunflowers (dead and alive), and his self portraits – the famous Van Gogh’s ear.
Though Van Gogh’s work wasn’t always colorful. In fact, his early work was gloomy, earthy toned, and on the dark side. The first transitional – from dark to color- work, is a portrait not many of us know, yet of great significant: Mr. Blok. It is a portrait of a black bearded street book seller Van Gogh knew in The Hague.
It was 3 years ago when I discovered my own Mr. Blok here in Ascona: a bearded local chef who used to pass by my window on his way to work. I always wanted to ask him to sit for me but never really had the “nerve”to ask a stranger for such a strange request. This year I finally did. I was lucky he didn’t find it unusual to have an artist beg to paint a portrait of his. He agreed.
“Another Mr. Blok” isn’t a study of my subject or sitter, but of Van Gogh’s philosophy. In his eyes, everyone – the postman, the bookseller, the doctor, the prostitute – were of equal value. With this study, I too stand by this belief. Not matter where one comes from, what title one holds, what one does…there is always a special story behind a face.
There she was. At last I had found the one. Although she was not my soul-mate, she was simply, my ultimate and most desirable “subject.” And what a subject she was!
I have heard her bell not far from the medieval arched bridge, exiting Puntid, in the Calnegia valley. I felt absurd, chasing the sound of cow bells. Like the hide and seek game, I was obsessed with trying to figure out where the sound came from. After all, I was already there, on top of the Foroglio Falls. My mission was clear. I had to capture in pencil the biggest oxymoron ever created by me: a cute beast…a live cow!
I slowly moved in to sit as close as I could to the one cow that caught my eye. As she chewed her never ending meal, I quickly grabbed my acrylics and started painting. It was all good till the beast decided she had had enough. “I’ve been hit, something hurts!” My body sprang into action. In a split of a second, I saw myself jump behind a boulder, paints and paper in hand. I was bleeding and feeling like I had just walked into a nightmare!
Once the bruises and shock subsided, I came down the mountain a happy woman.
To say that “the mucca al pascolo,” is my most special piece of art is an under statement! Nevertheless, I think I will stick to painting landscapes over moving, live, subjects.
The sunflowers of Ticino reminded me today, of my favorite artist, Van Gogh. He undeniably painted the most sticking, live and dead, sunflowers portraits.
To me, the most interesting aspect of Van Gogh paintings were not his subjects, but his own interpretation of life. Fresh sunflowers lift our spirits up, not because of their bright colors, but because they are alive. The opposite can be said about tired sunflowers that patiently await death in an empty vase. There, between the stench of rotten mold and death, lies an important reminder that life is truly short.
In honor of such truth, and wonderful flower painter, I filled in another page in my sketch book. My drawing is about life. It is a about a simple, plumped up, yet full of life plant that reminded today, to live life to the fullest!
On my way home from town, I looked up and noticed the fresh snow on Bogorno. Something down my feet caught my eye eventually. I quickly came off the spell of the mountain’s beauty, There, about to be squashed by my own foot, a brown leaf covered by newly formed water drops was my source of inspiration today! I quickly grabbed my watercolors to catch on paper, something so simple yet fascinating.
The modified self portrait of Marianne Werefkin, the founder of our museum of contemporary Art, here in Ascona.
„Ticino through my window (Ticino attraverso la mia finestra).“
Ciao a tutti!
Perdomo Artworks ed io, Carmen Perdomo, abbiamo il piacere di estendere il nostro invito a Lei, che ama l’arte ed il Ticino.
Venerdì 4 ottobre dalle ore 18.00, presso la galleria “Perdomo Artworks” di Ascona, inaugurerò la mia nuova collezione di dipinti “Ticino Through my window”.
L’idea – di guardare il Ticino attraverso una finestra – mi è venuta durante un viaggio di due anni fa ad Avignone, Francia. Dopo aver fatto un centinaio di fotografie alle mura ed al pavimento della sede papale di Avignone, provai a fare una foto alla città attraverso una vecchia finestra. Nel riguardare lo scatto mi sorpresi di quanto la distorsione che il vetro aveva prodotto riuscisse ad esaltare ancor di più la bellezza di quel posto. Dopodichè mi chiesi come sarebbe sembrata la mia di città, attraverso quel vetro. In quel momento decisi che, una volta tornata a casa, avrei fatto di tutto per avere un vetro come quello; fortunatamente lo trovai proprio in Ticino, a Tegna.
Fu così che, tra un dipinto e l’altro della mia prima collezione “Reflections of Ticino”, mi ritagliai del tempo per attraversare le diverse zone del Ticino col mio vecchio-nuovo compagno: il vetro “alla francese”.
“Ticino through my window” include quadri di meravigliosi scorci del sotto e sopra ceneri ed è anche un tributo personale al simbolo della storia dell’arte ticinese, la fondatrice del “Museo di Arte Moderna di Ascona,” Marianna Werefkin.