Blog rule #1 - post regularly.
New year's resolution #1 - post regularly.
Time to catch up...
Painting and teaching has kept me busy since fall. That's my excuse. But I resolve to do a better job at sharing in 2016.
I am currently working on some very large paintings that excite me. I try to remember to photograph them at regular intervals so I can capture the process. The changes they undergo always amaze me when I look back. This one is 4' x 4' and began with neon color, wet washes and lines painted with a small brush with a four foot long handle. Why? It felt good at the time and I happened to have a spray bottle nearby. I don't mean to be a smart-ass, that really is often the impetus for a painting - something compelling about the properties of the paint.
I rotated the panel and watched the drips change direction. It was mesmerizing.
For me, this is just a warm up - getting something on the panel to destroy all the white. I try to stay experimental for as long as possible, rotating the painting to get a fresh look at the possibilities. This is the additive phase, and I try not to judge anything, just let it all in. Patterns, colors, forms - marks of all kinds are welcome. It's also a time for experimentation. Much can be learned in this phase.
At some point, I take a step back just to see what the hell I've done. I ask myself what parts I like, what parts irritate me. Sometimes the process feels like this - make a big mess, then clean it up. Oddly, this brings me a great deal of satisfaction.
When I see something I like, I do more of it. Usually, at this point, the painting starts to evoke something in me, and a mood or or tenor develops. I become more discerning about the marks I'm making. I try to vary the shapes and form as much as possible - big/small, light/dark, patterned/solid, to make it the composition exciting. The challenge here is to remain willing to take risks and make changes, even when I begin to feel invested in a path or idea. I try to stay in a place of not knowing where I'm going for as long as I can. I think this makes the painting have a feeling of being "found" rather than planned. Planning a painting can feel like visiting a foreign city on a tour bus - following an itinerary. But my approach feels more like wandering the streets, open to whatever comes.
This painting is still in progress, but this is where it's at today. I have the urge to make some large, open spaces here, somewhere to rest. So I'll probably be covering up a good bit of this. I can always tell that's what it needs when I prefer the detail shot (below) to the whole painting. Sometimes...less is more. And finally...
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