Keith Mayerson


Plein air Pollock Krasner House and Barn, 2019


It was super fun to paint the Pollock Krasner House and barn "en plein air". I got special permission to be there for two beautiful days that they weren't open, to work on the site, a shrine to Modernity and the legendary couple. Wonderful energy on a sublime journey to capture their spirit, the house and barn studio, and the fantastic landscape where they helped to change history. I had photographed the spines of the vinyl they still have there that represented Lee and Jackson's favorite music, and listened to this amazing early Jazz and Blues (including Bessie Smith, Bunk Johnson, Jimmy Yancey, Louie Armstrong and Lead Belly) which regaled me while painting. The early honky tonk like tunes gave me a Harlem Renaissance vibe, and I had no problem distorting the buildings a bit to fit them into the picture, like those early paintings, and picking up vibes of the place and time which they lived and how they were influenced. The buildings themselves took on an anthropomorphic feeling—the house felt like Lee, and the studio Jackson. I'm also a big fan of Elvis, and visiting there was like visiting Sun Studios, a small humble place that was the birthplace of rock n' roll and the future. Helen Harrison, the historian who runs the place, came to greet me, and she let me know the birds that were keeping me company were "cat birds" as they make a "meow" sound—and mentioned to please paint the crows, as Jackson had one for a pet—the crows later appeared in the sky, on the trees also in the top of the picture. She also reminded me that Jackson lived his high school years in Riverside where I currently reside—and I realized after looking this up he lived just about 8 blocks, 3 minutes away from me! When the deer to the left of the studio appeared that was the end—I know they are ubiquitous in East Hampton (as are the ticks, I was dressed after their warning head to toe to prevent this, rubber boots et all), but to me the deer was like a spiritual avatar for Jackson, and after capturing that moment (and the heavenly sky) the painting was complete.