The works must be concerned with fire in the soul
but executed with clinical coolness.
My intention to post here monthly fell apart at the end of 2018. So here it is a new year, a fresh start, and a good time to talk about balance. I obviously lacked a bit of balance when I allowed busyness in the studio, and with life in general, overtake other areas that are also important to me, like posting on this blog! I know it’s not easy keeping all the parts of our lives in balance, and it is something I often hear about, the attempt to keep a sense of balance in our lives.
What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit.
~ John Updike ~
Creating a feeling of spaciousness is something that I struggle with in my abstract landscape works. The spaces I strive to create in my paintings are a direct response to the landscape here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. There is distance but also a closeness of rising mountainsides, tree lines and forests.
It took me a while to see it.
I have fallen into a way of working in my sketchbook that feels just about right for now.
The only consistency with my painting process is that I like to mix things up. Changing up the process helps me keep things fresh. In this way new challenges are presented, and there are new problems to be solved.
For some time now my method for working on paintings has been to allow the composition to develop intuitively on the canvas. Choices of color happen naturally as well, perhaps influenced by the color of the season or even just the weather that day. And what has been happening in these compositions are vague references to landscape, particularly mountainous landscapes. At the outset of this exploration into abstraction I attributed this to my many years of living in these mountains and that these land forms have crept into my visual vocabulary. Now I am beginning to wonder if it doesn’t go even deeper than that. Perhaps it’s in my DNA.
I began the month of October with the goal of completing a series of small abstract paintings that celebrate the color and texture of Autumn. I also had in mind to experiment with process.
After a base coat from my "gray jar" onto the six 8 x 8 inch panels, I then applied vibrant color to serve as a contrast for further layers.
There's a lot to be said for contentment. Yet when it comes to my art I am never content. As soon as I figure something out, instead of being satisfied, I am out looking for the next puzzle to solve. And I can't seem to let go of this theme of abstracted landscape, nor do I want to. This puzzle is about the challenge of the elements of composition and color from an intuitive inner landscape that is influenced by the landscape of my home in these mountains.
Landscape has a secret and silent memory, a narrative of presence
where nothing is ever lost or forgotten.
~John O'Donohue~ Anam Cara
This summer I did a total studio clean out and reorganization in preparation for hosting a few private students here in my cozy studio space. Just one of the many benefits of cleaning and reorganizing is finding long forgotten items and seeing their potential relative to your current process of working.
Long before the use of digital photography I kept a tin box as storage for potential reference photos. I organized them into broad categories - water, sky, and trees. Anything else was just dumped into the box.
I dream in color.
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