Thursday, March 8, 2012

leaving home

You leave home in your car on a ten minute drive to the supermarket and you arrive at your destination despite having no conscious memory of the drive.  Between home and market your mind has taken off on a circuitous journey all its own, brought on by a simple trigger.  Maybe it was the flash of cardinal red across the evergreens or a memory of last night's conversation, but you have departed the here and now and somehow managed to impel a two ton piece of machinery from point A to point B without seeing the road.

In my studio I begin a new painting by laying color onto paper, board or canvas.  This is my point A.  Point B is when I'm standing back and thinking "YES!" with a deep sense of satisfaction radiating through my whole being.  But the days, weeks or sometimes even months in between those two moments are almost impossible to explain.  My paintings are built from that same kind of car story that occurs when reverie replaces reality.  One thought leads to another and I am caught up in my own narrative.  But just as a writer has to pay attention to details and edit for meaning and flow, I spend a lot of time revising.  I read my painting to see what color needs to be emphasized.  I edit out marks tht distract.  I unearth my personal vocabulary of lines and forms that evoke metaphorical color.  I search for authentic gestures that activate the surface and bring the composition together.  I spend at least as much time reflecting on my work in progress as I do painting it.

A friend recently asked me in an email to tell her about my latest painting.  Her question made me wonder, does my work contain meaning?  What I see in it may not be what another person experiences, which is what I find compelling about creating abstract art.  All I can really explain is that I set out from home and after the long and winding road of the unknown, I arrive.

"Alchemy"   30" x 40"   oil and mixed media on cradled board

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