There were innumerable restatements of the laws during Hofmann’s
many years as a teacher. He was a legendary and archetypal teacher
and he seems to have painted the way he taught: generous, direct,
searching, uncompromising. He shared with his students the belief
that they had something, “a secret,” and that is what
they must paint. He painted his secret.
(Asklepios was the Greek god of healing) volcanic layers of blue,
red and purple appear. His brush drags the red paint down, over
and up creating an end zone for spindly shapes. The brush spins
over a little sunrise of yellow then drags down again. Patches of
exploding white and head like shapes create a base. All the unfamiliar
markings and figures hold their places, vibrate, and tremble. Something
Painting is about feeling deeply and Hofmann felt deeply about
the language of painting and its ability to transform. The painter
can’t imitate. Only God can make a tree. Attempting to “make”
a tree, or anything else on canvas goes against the nature of painting.
Illusionistic realism doesn’t really do what painting needs
and wants to do. Painting wants to be alive and real in the sense
that fields and rivers and mountains and people are alive.