Hyde Park

(Joni Mitchell Paintings Interview of Joni Mitchell by Rene Engel © KCSN-FM December 21, 1999)
Well, first of all, let me tell that you after the earthquake I began painting this way. I guess with Nietzsche first. First, I would smother the canvas in, you know, avocado green oil paint because there was a period of painting where they painted photographically in terra verde and then they glazed over it, right? So I thought, well why don't I just smother the canvas in olive green because it's got a transparent gold thing to it and see what happens. Well, what happens is you get these very rich kind of old-world, tapestry colors. So it was kind of a successful color experiment for me. Right after the earthquake I had an insurance adjuster. She was a German woman and I was working on this painting. This one was complete and this one was one day old and I get the whole image up on the first day but then I bring the surface up and the detail up. She looked at this and she says, (in German accent), why would you want to paint a painting like that? I said, you know, "what's wrong with it?" And she said, "brown!" She looked at this one and she said, "brown! after the bombing of Dresden every hack in Germany was conscripted to do brown propaganda painting. Why would you want to do a painting like that?" And I thought about ____________ Rembrandt's black and that whole era and going black paintings, black paintings, black paintings until I got to the Impressionists and I was in heaven with all the color. So this was the beginning of a kind of _____exploration. That's why this grey, this seagull, this is a Dutch-style frame from the Rembrandt era, you know. Which would still be in use in the time of Van Gogh, that type of frame, had he framed his paintings in Holland. But instead he was older and cramped and they put all of that floofy-floofy, you know, stuff on it. But I tend to like that style of frame for these kind of light experiments and with these tapestry colors, you know, ___________. But the thing -- this snapshot was taken from Donald's perspective I do believe, although I could have taken it randomly by holding it up. We don't remember really which one of us took it, but I suspect it was Donald. I find it very tender. But, some of the people here, a couple of men, found it disturbing, you know. There is an element of -- while it's very warm and friendly and the female form is basically just a lap and a knee, the male form is just a hand on that knee and the boot on that foot that's not even a full foot. A lot of it's on the margin because of the angle, and you're looking down at the ground which has a lot of autumn leaves. But, yeah, I find it very romantic, but I guess because of the color, this one fellow found it male-dominant. I said, "well, you know, what's wrong with a little male domination? A little in the right places -- it's a good thing" (laughs).

Hyde Park appears in Cameron Crowe's 2005 film, Elizabethtown.

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