Jack Bush, an inspiration when you will be in Italy


New York Museum Tour from Ottawa
Jack Bush, BLACK GREY + WHITE / GREENBERG’S B+W, 1958, oil on canvas, private collection

Jack Bush and Walk the Arts’ classes

In Canada’s capital, Ottawa, there is a fantastic exhibit on Jack Bush (1909-1977), undoubtedly the most important English Canadian painter— Jean-Paul Riopelle (1923-2002) being the most important one in French Canada. Dr. Sarah Stanners and Marc Mayer did a fantastic job in putting up this show at the National Gallery of Canada. I found particularly interesting the following painting and its didactic panel:

“A great, wonderful day. After breakfast – I nailed up 5 feet of canvas on the new wall that Terry and I had put in place last night. I was going to paint the small Dec. 56 note that [Clem Greenberg] had told me to do just like this – no changes – five feet wide”. I mixed a tin of grey – of black, no drawing. Looked – picked up the big brush and reached out. I worked in a physical frenzy for more than ¾ of an hour. It was done… I was exhausted – never so tired – painting. Mabel looked – did not like the spatter dribble that had accidently happened. I said Clem said to defy her – I liked it and here I am going to take it out “if you have a mind of your own – go paint your picture – I just said I didn’t like it!” (Diary, 22 February 1958.)

“You see!” what I have told my adult students when visiting all together this exhibit. Why?

During our painting workshops in Italy and my art classes at the School of Art, how many times I keep saying: “Do not listen to your spouse advice. Just listen to you. You will return to the U.S.A., Canada or Australia most probably he or she will say; ‘you spend all that money for that!’ ”.

For one thousand reasons, your beloved one will see another person in your paintings, not the one with whom he/she is living. Not only I have seen this reality in my many years of teaching painting classes, but also in the course of my in-depth research in art history, Jack Bush’s being another example.

However, in rare cases the significant other may be right, meaning that he/she knows the partner like the palm of his/her own hand and he/she wants the best for him/her. Also that person is aware and knowledgeable of what is going on in the artistic field

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