About “Mood”


Oil painting by Terry Allen Jones, used by permission

A painting that artist Terry Allen Jones posted on Facebook (above) sparked a discussion on “mood” that made me think. I had mentioned that I loved the juicy paint, and that I’d found the mood interesting. Terry thanked me and followed up by saying: “Mood is hardest, don’t you think?”

Hmm, I thought: yes, it can be. Then he said the following:

“It isn’t something I try to do, do you? If it’s there it doesn’t come out on purpose. Right? I’m thinking of Don [Gardi]’s pastels.”

That really got me thinking.

Abstract paintings by artists such as Don Gardi, Pirkko Mäkelä-Haapalinna, Casey Klahn, William Wray, Laura Pollak and Arlene G. Richman–among others–are delightful puzzles to me. I marvel at the artist’s ability to evoke emotions with shape/color/line/value that may or may not have any direct correlation to actual objects! I would love to have a long conversation with these folks about the _intention_ with which they approach a given painting.

I, personally, have become increasingly intentional about the mood and emotion I want to convey. Back when I started drawing and painting seriously, my paramount intention was to get the details “right.” Now, all aspects of the painting are consciously chosen and rendered to express my _response_ to a momentary view or vision, even if I cannot verbally articulate it (which often I cannot until the painting is done). So, for me, the mood is definitely “on purpose.”

Okay, that turned out to be a long answer to a short question. Many thanks to Terry Allen Jones for asking it! I enjoyed thinking about this.


“The Necromancer’s Daughter” – Point Lobos, CA – Pastel on MingART Premium, 4.4×7.1″/11.2×18 cm


3 thoughts on “About “Mood”

  1. What a fascinating subject! Thank you, Mark. I think that mood and emotion come directly out of our soul. So, by letting the soul choose the subject to paint, there are chances that other people feel something similar to your own emotion while you painted it.
    Does this makes sense? Sorry for my poor English 😉


    • I agree that the resonance others feel echoes that of our own soul, Gina, so when choosing the subject–and the _way_ in which we will depict that subject–we start an action that can cause a reaction in both ourselves and others. For me, that is the hope: that by choosing to paint something that deeply resonates with me, and by choosing the strongest elements I can to communicate that resonance, others will also resonate with it just by having seen the art (or read the story, or heard the music…!).


      • Thank you, Mark. This is exactly what I wanted to say. I think I’ll print your words for my studio wall! You should write a book about this kind of subjects. It is a joy to read your wonderful English.

        Liked by 1 person

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