Detail Path of Souls 2017
A few blogs back I posted a picture of 6 canvases I was painting simultaneously. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Note to self …..are you crazy ? What were you thinking????
To be fair, what I was thinking seemed perfectly reasonable. Six pieces all inspired by one stone (a spider web Opal). That particular stone took me to a very special place when I looked at it. It made me think of the Cherokee myth of the Little People, I imagined them in the trees of a primordial forest in the Smokey Mountains, a place I know well – the mountains not the primordial part. Because I paint in oils, there is only so much work I can do on one canvas in a day before I have to stop to allow drying time. Otherwise I achieve wonderful mud tones. Working on six would allow me to paint many many hours without having to stop. My technique involves layer upon layer of thin oil glazes and I incorporate dry pigments (interference and pearls), gold and silver leaf, and I love to experiment on the fly. So if I wanted all six paintings to work with one another on a single shared theme, they would all have to be painted at the same time because I cannot recreate 20-50 layers the same way twice. Seems a rational thought …. Right?
Over the last year or so I have been painting ideas in series. Usually I do two or three canvases at once and it has really worked fine. In fact, it’s really stimulating to approach an idea from several directions and canvas number, size and dimension change things up. I also paint in a spiral with no up, down, left or right. I turn the canvases over and over allowing each canvas to find its own direction if there ever is one. I sign my work on the side so as not to force a sense of where or how it goes and I do not wire or I cross wire because there is often no right way to hang it. I want my work to move and to be in motion. As humans, we are moving, time is moving, and our internal and external worlds are all remaking themselves simultaneously at every moment. That is what I am trying to capture on canvas…. somehow not freezing it, allowing it to continue to evolve each time it is viewed. Hopefully making you ask questions, interacting, changing and surprising you each time you look at it.
Well……… the last several weeks with these paintings has been like experiencing multiple personality, mushrooms, peyote, and waking dreams, all simultaneously! (I have personal experience with some but not all of these). I think my brain is going to explode… ok , maybe it already has. If you get the idea it hasn’t gone exactly smoothly …… ding ding ding , you get the prize. In my artist statement I say “ I start a painting by moving the paint around until the painting begins talking to me. It’s like having a conversation.” When six paintings are all talking at the same time really loudly it feels like sitting around the thanksgiving table with your whole family there and everyone needs you to hear them first.
1. I won’t try this again very soon, but the experience was educational and I learned a lot about what I can and cannot do. Experimenting and struggling with our work keeps us growing.
2. Never forget its only paint! If you do not try you learn nothing.
3. You can always throw it out in the shed, throw a towel over it, or make it face the wall. When you are “in the moment” these are very satisfying ways to express your frustration without breaking anything.
And finally when you keep pushing, working and not giving up they do come around. For me finally these six are finished. And I am taking a week off to relax recharge and get ready for the next set.
I am really excited about the new idea I have and I can’t wait to get started….
I have a solo show at Red Cloud in November, opening on Friday the 10th. Come see " the crazy six" Live, complete and in person, as they will all be at this show along with several others.
Until the next blog…… Keep following your path!