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Just Another Ocean

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Leslie Parke. Blue Tarp

Leslie Parke. “Blue Tarp”, 70 inches x 70 inches, oil on canvas, 2013.

As a child during my summers at the beach, I spent many hours contemplating the ocean; watching the color change from gray to azure blue, and the surface from turbulent to the flatness of a polished mirror. This time of observation felt purposeful, as though, if I sat long enough I could penetrate its meaning or more accurately, its being. How the ocean looked attached itself to a mood and an atmosphere.  It felt as though it had meaning apropos of nothing. How something looked was important.  It struck a deep chord in me.  The most “important” looks were the ones that I was least able to describe. I think that is why now I spend so much time trying to paint the un-paintable: hoar frost, silvery light, light reflected off of surfaces.

Today I showed the painting of a blue tarp, the sort you might use to cover your roof if you had a leak, to a friend. I worked on this painting every day for five months. It felt  like one long meditation.  My friend was nonplussed. A frustrated look of “I don’t get it”, came over her face. She was looking for meaning, for content, or at least some sort of context.  I was giving her none of these things.  All I gave her was a blue tarp. She didn’t see that it was another ocean.

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