New Work: Alien Paintings

"Alien Garden" Watercolor crayons on paper 9" x 12" © 2009 Marilyn Fenn
“Alien Garden” Watercolor crayons on paper 9″ x 12″ © 2009 Marilyn Fenn
Five new paintings

Most of my paintings over the past 6 or 7 months are starting to look sort of alien to me.  I don’t know where these images are coming from.   I sit down to draw or paint with the intention of really developing my own vocabulary of shapes, forms, and compositions.  When I approach my easel, I’m really just considering the basic elements of a good painting.  Invariably, a circle — usually an orange one — works its way into the composition.   Many times there are lots of circles  — one of my recent works is nothing but orange circles and spheres.

When I look at all the works from the past 7 months together, a theme emerges, but it is not one that I ever intended; there’s a painting that looks vaguely like the bridge of a spaceship, one that resembles the edge of a planet with moons perhaps.  One that started out as nothing more than an exploration of a few lines and a couple of circles ended up looking like a being falling through space, so I named him “My Alien Friend.”  Though perhaps he is a she, or neither a he nor a she, or both; I don’t know.

Now he (or she — or it) has a garden, a bouquet, some jewelry — and none of these are intentional.

Alien Bouquet · watercolor pencils on paper · 9"x12"
Alien Jewelry · watercolor pencils on paper · 9″x12″ · © 2009 Marilyn Fenn
Alien Bouquet · watercolor crayons on paper · 12"x9"
Alien Bouquet · watercolor crayons on paper · 12″x9″ · © 2009 Marilyn Fenn
Alien Yardscape · mixed media on paper · 9"x12"
Alien Yardscape · mixed media on paper · 9″x12″ · © 2009 Marilyn Fenn
Alien Kitchen · mixed media on paper · 9"x12"
Alien Kitchen · mixed media on paper · 9″x12″ · © 2009 Marilyn Fenn

Where did these images come from?  Is it because I’m a child of the 50’s & 60’s?   That Sputnik was launched during my lifetime, that man landed on the moon, and that in those days we expected — and if all had gone according to plan — we would be flying around in jetpacks right now?

Growing up I watched The Jetsons, Duck Dodgers and Marvin the Martian, Twilight Zone, the Outer Limits and Star Trek on TV.   Some of the first movies I remember seeing in the theater were The Blob and The Time Machine, followed later by some of the most visually astounding movies ever made to that point: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and the whole Star Wars series.  My favorite books as a teenager were science fiction novels and short stories from the likes of Robert Heinlein, Larry Niven, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, and Ursula Le Guin.

Even my parents’ house was infused with imagery from space: the starburst clock over the mantle, boomerang ashtrays, two-tier fiberglass lampshades, perforated metal lamps that emitted dozens of little star-like light beams, and the fabulous atomic barkcloth curtains.

I guess even in the subconscious — the place from where, as a non-objective artist, I draw my imagery — the impressions made from a lifetime of images and ideas leak out and cannot be escaped.

See if you agree that the sketches and paintings below — much of my work from the past 7 months — contain imagery reminiscent of aliens and outer space.

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