plein air non representational
I was weaned on abstract expressionism. I am smitten by the allover image. I have developed a method of plein air non representational allover style painting based on grave rubbings.
I discovered this method due to the circumstance of painting with acrylics outdoors in the California desert. I was visiting my parents in Homeland California. I was away from my New York studio and had no real space in which to paint the large canvasses which involved me. I started to work outside in the early morning. I now had a huge studio but I was painting on the ground, under the sun, blown by the wind. My acrylic paint dried really fast.
I took to wetting my surfaces with a garden hose and working quickly with a roller on a pole. When I messed it up I would hose it off to start over but there were edges which had dried. The next layer formed new edges. The ground was uneven so the roller contact was uneven. I would slide the canvas around creating new highspots. Try a new color over the old. I got really good at timing the degree of wetness vs the heat of the sun divided by the wind multiplied by the paint thickness. It was all instinctive through repetition but it was a delicate learned balance that ushered me in to a way of painting gloriously intricate non patterned allover paintings.
These unique paintings have been forged in the heat of the sun and held their own. The seed of creative experimentation has blossomed in to a series of plein-air non-representational paintings. These Earth Rubbings are informed with discovery and delight and continue to express optimism and forward motion. These paintings are perpetual growth machines.
Art Grows and as a result so do you in their presence. I painted these paintings and after 10 years I am still delighted and surprised by their continued growth. I never fail to get caught up in the search for a pattern only to be washed away with the sheer delight of discovery as new areas , new relationships, reveal themselves.
what is the purpose of art?
This painting is unusual for me as it comes from a darker place than I am accustomed to recognizing. I started it after a meeting where my colleagues were discussing depression and explaining in clearer terms than I can remember hearing just what depression feels like. I started painting as that’s what i do and found the meeting influencing the painting. It seemed dark and ominous. There seemed to be a weight suspended and a glimmer of light smeared and confined. I decided this painting was about depression. Maybe that’s what screwed me up because I’m stuck now and I try not to decide what the painting is about until after its done. I defined the bottom right dark area as the confusion and mindset of depression and I can’t seem to resolve it with the rest of the painting. I am thinking now how appropriate but still its not gonna be finished till i find resolution. Until balance arrives.
My purpose is greater than making paintings, omelet, or peace. My purpose is to move from the dark to the light by recognizing the dark and asking for help to see past it. It just so happens I am a painter. One of the symbols I chose to represent the passage from dark to light is painting, I can’t deny that symbol and undertake a passage bereft of symbols. I can’t find my way in my own head under a tree in meditation. It’s not the way I got here it’s not the way through. The art world, the brush I forgot to clean, the stubborn image all contribute to my journey.
So what’s the purpose of Art?
The finished art reflects my journey and provides hope. Hope that there is more to this life. Hope that there is a process through, and hope that I can engage in that process. It is easy for me to forget. I see tasks and obstacles, injustice and despair. I can easily forget there is more to life than the levels of a game toward death. Then I catch out of the corner of my eye something that makes no sense. Something that doesn’t belong in this concrete scenario. Why would someone make that? It serves no purpose, I cant cook with it or use it for shelter. Art is like a window in to another world. A world where sense matters less and the stain of color on canvas can trump the day.
So I keep making art. I find when I deny myself the practice things get worse. I don’t know that I think more but there seems to be less escape from thought. Artmaking is a prayer. I lose myself there and find a glimpse of hope that we are all more than I previously recognized. For me that is the purpose of Art.
never one to waste paint and following in the trend of twin paintings we have the altar ego of “Depression”, “No Depression”. Built using the same paint and canvas dimensions “No Depression” washes away all doubt and cleanses the doors of perception.