David Morris wrote an article about me for Creative Pinellas last December. When he reached me by phone about the article, I assumed I would be one of many artists interviewed and perhaps a line or two would make it into the article. He was so interesting to talk to, that I actually kinda forgot our conversation was “on the record”. What occurred was an interview in which I talked about things I do not usually share. Here is a link if you want to read it - http://creativepinellas.org/visual-arts/shadow-behind-light/
I hadn’t previously put myself under the microscope on how my physical body and mental attitude create my method of working. I am usually thinking about painting, not, why do I paint standing up?
Strange to consider the body as the brush. And the quirky, over focus, INFJ mind that inhabits this body as the method. Odd to realize that a lifetime managing pain is the foundation upon which I make my living.
When I think about the artists who have influenced me, Frida Kahlo, Van Gogh, Toulouse Lautrec, I think about their work but also how their world, their physical circumstances, and their personal challenges created the language that communicates itself through that work. Frida Kahlo wanted to be a doctor, her accident changed the course of her life. Yet in her work, the anatomy illustrations she studied occur over and over. They lend a searing honesty to her images. She sees both intimately as an artist but also with the objective detachment of a physician.
In the studio this morning I got 6 canvases going. All different sizes, 30”x40”, 24”x30”, 20”x24”, 8”x16” and 2 - 8”x8”. I am working from yet another opal (my last three series of paintings have started with impressions from looking at spider web opal). The stone instantly transported me to a place with winged insect people flying among ancient trees in the morning sun, grandmother’s stories of the little people that live in the forest, me laying in the grass on a spring morning off the Blue Ridge parkway.
I see all six paintings finished in my mind, I just have to peel away each layer one by one back to the first color then reconstruct. I anticipate 50 or more layers. I will use gold leaf in several. I am particularly excited about how the light will emerge differently on each canvas as this stone has many secrets to reveal. I have the canvases arranged across the back side of the studio, all six at waist to head level so I can walk back and forth and back and forth. I check the furniture behind me to make sure I can back up without falling over something because I have learned the hard way about that and have nearly tossed myself out my old second story studio several times. I spent an entire day just arranging the paint, and brushes because with every new set of paintings I have to clean and completely organize my studio to enable my brain to reach a state of calm and focus with no distractions that break my concentration.
And so it begins again and I am fully present in a place of complete focus, no pain, no time. The world of these six canvases becomes the whole world and the mind and body become one instrument to touch the canvas.