Tuesday, November 24, 2009

THE INCANDESCENTS: Marilyn Monroe; NikolaTesla & Georgia O'keeffe

"If then your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays" Luke `11:36

"Marilyn In Her Pucci Mirror Blouse" oil on canvas 62" x 48"painted by Cherie Bender: When I paint, I need light.  There is no question, an artist may not paint in the darkness. Light is a necessary part of the creative process.  In actual fact and in the rendering of a work of art, light is an absolute factor.  I am also committed to bringing light into my paintings visually. My oil painting of the incandescent, iconic, actress Marilyn, as pictured here, is a work in progress as I plan on creating an abstract panel in oils, which will make this painting ~ Marilyn In Her Pucci ~ a diptych. 
This leads me to the second luminous presence of this unlikely grouping which I have chosen: Nikola Tesla, inventor, the father of modern electricity.  Born in 1856, the man was a pure genius. As a child he had the vision of harnessing the power of Niagra Falls, New York, having never been there and while living in what is today known as Croatia. Later, he achieved his goal and changed history. Nikola Tesla worked for Edison in this country who ripped him off for  over 1 million dollars which Edison had promised him.  Just before he died, Edison admitted his greatest regret was trying to pursue direct electrical current rather than the vastly superior alternating current invented by Tesla.  Tesla became a US naturalized citizen and was awarded posthumously a patent for the radio which had been denied him by the US during his lifetime and given to his rival Marconi who was later discredited. 

I like very much that Tesla believed in the equality of woman, and predicted that women would become the dominant sex in the future, the "Queen Bees". He certainly was way ahead of his time, and it was spoken about him in his lifetime and even believed now,that he was really an alien or angel from the planet Venus, come to earth to give us these great electrical gifts.

Tesla's luminous presence is still very much with us: along with the many obvious inventive gifts he left us, there is a popular heavy metal rock band "Tesla" named after him; and recently a car, the Tesla Roadster, which runs on lithium battery cells and can go from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds; David Bowie starred in a  2006 movie "The Prestige" about Tesla's life; The US government owes most if not all  of our early warning defense system to Tesla, and Google honored Tesla in their search home page this year, on his birthday, the tenth of July, 2009, with the G as a Tesla coil ..... these are just a few of his great contributions. Tesla died alone and financially indigent in the New Yorker Hotel in 1973.... although he is greatly honored today.  Which leads me to the third and last luminous presence, unlikely though it may seem, but likely in view of the fact of myself as painter.....

Georgia O'Keeffe. Georgia who has been my inspiration and personal hero ..... a "Queen Bee" of women painters if there ever was, she is most certainly one.

Georgia who did the opposite of all the "city men", Georgia who painted in vibrant, pulsating, moving color when they painted in static grays "I can paint one of those dismal-colored paintings like the men" she said in 1922, and she did so: a painting of a shed "all low toned and dreary with the tree beside the door"  calling it "The Shanty" and hanging it in her next show. "The men seemed to approve of it" she said fifty four years later. " They seemed to think that maybe I was beginning to paint. That was my only low-toned dismal-colored painting."

Because she was her own person, and because she did not do the expected, Georgia decided to live in Texas with her sister for a time, where there were no trees and no one to tell her how to paint them... there was only the horizon.  She and her sister Claudia would go for walks in the late afternoon away from the town and toward that horizon, to watch the evening star come out. "That evening star fascinated me" she wrote. " It was in some way very exciting to me.  My sister had a gun, and as we walked she would throw bottles into the air and shoot as many as she could before they hit the ground. I had nothing but to walk into nowhere and the wide sunset space with the star.  Ten watercolors were made from that star" I am compelled as much by Georgia's sister Claudia with the gun, as by the painter Georgia with the star......  but only the painter left us this incandescent, luminous, shining record. Ten watercolors were made from that star.