36×24″ Oil over acrylic.
30×24″ Oil on Canvas
For years I resisted figurative work. I told myself, I wasn’t ready. Maybe… when I had the skills of a quartrocento artist, rendering the human body.
But it wasn’t that. All that time, I was preparing… learning how to paint, the way I needed to paint. Discovering my own sense of structure, of surface. So much in art is like that–I think, for any of the arts. We set a goal, and put off where we want to go while we prepare, than at some revelation, find that we were preparing all along for a different goal–one that turns out to be closer to the one we’d been avoiding all along.
This is why art is so important! We need to learn how to move into our future, without knowing where it will lead, without nailing it down,–fixed and embalmed. How to learn through our trials and then discover what it was all for.
This is what we have to learn–that no technology, mapped out schema can save us, if we aren’t listening… and ready to embrace what newly emerges before us.
Science and art have this much in common.
We may be going in the right direction… and all the while, think it was something else… and then…
Like Jean Valentine’s poem.
I would like to paint on surfaces that are not rectangles… this painting I’ve just finished (see work in progress, below) ) … I’d like if some of those shapes on the edges were cut into the rectangle, so the shape of the painting and it’s support are not two different things. I don’t have the tools or the means to realize this.
For so many years I’ve lived in the city, with few opportunities to get out–and none for any length of time. I watched a video of David Hockney talking about Van Gogh… and found myself wondering, how different my paintings might be if I were to have spent this time observing woodlands and fields and open waters–or if I were to move out of the city and spend the rest of what little is left of my life in a cottage by a lake in the woods.
This painting, and #1206 below) of the last suggest new ways of organizing what I see… new for me, at least, and making me feel like much of what I’ve done before is so much splish splash of color–searching for a visual idea and falling short. Maybe this time I’ll find my way
28×18, Oil on Canvas. This began as an image of ASL sign for ‘sleep.’
What I think about when I paint….
…if the brush makes two marks on the canvas, my eye looks for a third. When I see the third, I set out to see where it leads. If it leads to a fourth, and no further, I’m disappointed at the early end of the travels. So much depends on where that third mark will appear. This is how painting is like music.
15×11 Ink, watercolor