Lois Dodd – Catching the Light

lois dodd in Maine studio

I see Lois Dodd’s back a lot. Light comes into her barn studio through the same door I do, so she’s very seldom facing it.

Portland, Maine: Last evening was almost balmy, this morning, not so much and tomorrow here comes the snow, more of it back down in the Hudson Valley than up here right by the coast, if the forecast proves accurate.

What am I doing in Maine in the winter, after so many years away? I’m taking a small part in the opening festivities for my neighbor Lois’ retrospective at the Portland Museum of Art.

The show’s title, Catching the Light, is a good description of her skill, or perhaps more accurately her very raison d’etre. But years of watching her at work, preparing to work, knocking off for the day and otherwise living the daily life of a painter have me firmly convinced that she wouldn’t be interested in catching it if it hadn’t caught her first.

 

lois dodd painting in Maine

Lois usually gets up close and very personal with the garden, but sometimes one of my  compositions does manage to catch her eye.

lois dodd painting in leslie lands garden

This is not to say that I’m IN the composition. All I ever do is pass through; haven’t sat as a model in two decades or more.

I think of myself as someone quite attentive to light, aware of shifting shapes and colors,  profoundly influenced every day by the amount and angle of sunshine, the endless interplay of clarity and cloud cover, the Kodacolor brilliance of late light under a dark layer of incipient rain.

Ha! All it takes is one casual remark from Lois- probably while we’re out on our daily walk – to show me, yet again, that I don’t know diddly. I’m learning, though. Maybe if we keep taking those walks for another 40 years or so, I’ll finally catch up with her in the catching light department.

But I doubt it.

Too daunting

purple passionflower

Passionflower by the main path, 10:35:09 AM, October 6, 2012

purple pasionflower

Passionflower by the main path, 10:35:18 AM, October 6, 2012

 

painter lois dodd in studio doorway

Lois looking out through the barn door. (That purple area is light blare, not the painting; the telephone is more or less attached)

Lois Dodd photographs by Bill Bakaitis

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2 Comments »

  • Thanks for sharing about your friendship with Lois Dodd — I only know her through her paintings, which I make sure to visit every time I’m at the museum in Portland, and am very much looking forward to her first museum retrospective!

    Happy to do as much Lois-sharing as possible and let me tell you this – her first retrospective since the early 90s and a far larger one – is absolutely breathtaking. It’s wonderful to see so many of the big paintings all together in a space big enough to do them justice.

  • Susan Scheid Said,

    Ah-hah, so this is what takes you to Maine mid-winter. I love this post. She’s not only a wonderful artist, but a delightful person. You’ve captured something in the words that is particularly delicious: “The show’s title, Catching the Light, is a good description of her skill, or perhaps more accurately her very raison d’etre. But years of watching her at work, preparing to work, knocking off for the day and otherwise living the daily life of a painter have me firmly convinced that she wouldn’t be interested in catching it if it hadn’t caught her first.”

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