In the past, much of my work has been learning.
Painting landscapes outdoors, I learned a lot about color, how to work in public, to work fast and to let things go. The sun is constantly changing the scene and it eventually sets. There are decisions to make quickly about what details to include, what to change and how to finish. Painting outdoors is so wonderfully life-affirming. If you really want to feel alive, paint or draw outdoors for a few hours. Afterwards, on the trip home, you will find the world magically alive with color and light.
I took some photography classes, which helped me see light better (and it was fun to make art in the darkroom with other artists working).
I attend life drawing sessions regularly. I like to draw faces and capture personality. One can’t underestimate the importance of drawing.
My series of splotchy traffic in different color palettes taught me more about color and about blurriness. I painted a series of colored liquids with light shining through them as a way to study light and color. I painted a series of color grids while thinking about if all colors had an right to be seen. (The subtext was wondering if all people had an equal right to be heard.) I painted a series of tall format trees; a great compositional practice (and also the best way to do Gainsborough-type portraits of trees). I did a series with words, which was a primarily conceptual exercise.
I was invited to a biennale and realized I had no work that I felt worthy. I realized it was time to stop learning and start painting. I embarked on the larger still life series.
|Still life with Iris and Snoopa, the finished version|
While I set up a still life composition, I arranged elements based on whether I could pull it off. Now I feel I can probably paint whatever's in front of me, more or less, and I arrange the composition as it should be. I think more about art and less about workmanship. And it's ok if it's not perfect—it's not a scientific illustration—it's a feeling.
|Early version: the leaves were repainted many times|
after this photo but still didn't work.
Why did I paint this scene? Who knows? It’s how I was feeling over the holidays. I am just following my intuition and completing these using my traditional painting style.
Okay I totally lied. I'm getting ready to start a new painting, and am just plain scared. I don't know why I am painting this arrangement. I don't know if I can pull it off. I don't know if I'm gonna be embarrassed about this painting… It doesn't get any easier.