From Jazz to Fragonard

Work in Progress, Untitled
copyright 2022, Molly Larson Cook
Mixed acrylic media

I am happily back at work in the studio. An auto mechanic is happy working in the garage, a carpenter in the woodshop, a gardener in the garden, and an artist desires more than anything to be in the studio.

Over the last few months, many ideas about the painting have bounced around in my head while I was busy with other tasks, including preparations for the art show. These things were all related to and part of being an artist, but none of them replaced the smell of the paint and the look of the colors. None replaced the paint on my fingers, my apron and sometimes my shoes.

It’s true that sooner or later, an artist gets paint on everything he or she owns. I am a walking testament to that!

One of the tasks of the summer was a reorganization of the studio. Sometimes it just has to be done. Learning to make use of a much smaller space is a challenge, but with a new rolling cart, and rails for hanging canvases on the walls, I’m back in business.

The two most significant changes are (a) the realization that the Colors of Jazz collection is likely finished, and (b) moving to a different color palette.

For the jazz paintings, I used a fairly bright and vivid palette, but for reasons I can’t quite explain, I’m now drawn to the Rococo palette created by the Rococo artists of the 18th century. Perhaps it’s a reflection of my first days as an art history student, long before I began to paint. My first art history class was a survey from 18th century to the present (which at that time was 20th century).

Those early paintings gave me entrance to a world in which I had not yet had my beginning but had longed to join for years. And those soft Rococo colors have clearly been in my artist’s head and heart all these years.

I am not so much taken with the content of the paintings, largely portraits and romantic scenes like Fragonard’s well-known, “The Swing.” For now, I’ll continue with my abstract work in the softer blues, teals, pinks, golds, greens, gray.

I don’t know yet what the new collection will be. I’m “painting in the dark” as it were with the new colors, trusting that one day soon I will know what these new paintings are about. If I am right that “color is an animal that wags its own tail,” the colors will guide me just as the more vivid colors guided me to the jazz.

The sense of improvisation is strong, so I’ll ride that wave and see where it takes me, see on what distant shore I land. Perhaps this collection will be the “Note in a Bottle” group. Many things are possible.

4 thoughts on “From Jazz to Fragonard

  1. Thank you, honey…The new rails are great…thank you for those! You’re part of this project.

  2. Nice to hear tou are back in the studio and utilizing your new space to get creative yet again on a new adventure so to speak but l am sure they will be just as spectacular and beautiful as your “Colors of Jazz” collection really looking forward to the new paint scheme Rococo will show!

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