madeleine avirov

A Mind of Winter (above), completed in 2010, began with a walk in Buckhorn Canyon, a paradise of Jeffrey and sugar pine, oak, incense cedar, and alder at 6,500 feet in the San Gabriel Mountains above Los Angeles. It was followed by one more oil, drawn from the same place—Blind Night—and then, for five years, painting in oil stopped. The fates had other plans.

I went back to oil in the summer of 2015, not to pick up where I’d left off, but to wrestle with aspects of the craft of oil painting first laid down in the fifteenth century. I began with the most humble subject I could find, my husband’s baby shoes, from 1953.

The wrestling continues, across the fluid border of realism and abstraction—all of it toward turning a heap of signs into a presence. In that spirit, good visitor, welcome to my latest act and watch this space for more.

My essay on painting and memory, “Immaterial Witness: An artist excavates the ground of memory and imagination,” appeared in the Summer/Autumn 2010 issue of the Harvard Divinity Bulletin. “A Primitive Mind,” my essay about the making of A Mind of Winter, appeared in the January 2011 issue of Poetry.

(Above: A Mind of Winter, 2010; Oil on canvas; 48 x 48 in.; private collection, Fraser, Colorado)