Monday, December 10, 2012


Just a snippet of what I've started. I didn't want to give it all away.
As you can see, I chose to start my canvas with a rusty underpainting of burnt sienna.
For a while, it seemed as though I’d gone fallow. I thought the blanket of winter had covered me over. I began to worry whether I would ever paint again. But then I realized I just needed to rest and absorb; and when I was ready, I would make art.

Over the past few months, I've been exposed to paintings and places that keep resurfacing in my head. It started when I wandered into two galleries a thousand miles and a couple of months apart. In one gallery, I was drawn to paintings where the artist first covered the canvas with a rusty red. At the other gallery, the artist used a rich black underpainting. In both cases, the color of the underpaintings shone through, creating exciting affects I couldn’t stop thinking about.

The painters’ styles were as different as can be. One offered rich painterly landscapes lush with textured paint and detail, while the other created vast canvases with broad, glimmering fields of color—landscapes that touched me like a fading memory of somewhere I'd been before.

Added to that were the memories of our trip to the southwest. Driving, driving, driving across the California desert into Arizona, then on to the Navaho reservation where the vast openness and layers of mesas and hills march off to pastel dreams of the old ones.

I couldn't stop looking at the shapes and changing colors, the low winter sun of the late afternoon drenching the land in warmth, the distant ridges cool and soft, melting into the sky.

Then, we drove on to the mountains of Colorado, where fall was well entrenched: the ridges patchworked with grays, browns, rusts, and taupe against grasses dried to shiny straw. The colors of a falling-down house, a sweat-worn saddle, torn curtains faded to a whisper.

Finally, this soup of inspiration has come together in the form of a new painting I started over the weekend. For the first time in many weeks, I had a few spare hours and my studio called to me—much louder than the laundry. So there I went, falling back into the meditation of shape and color that I love so well.

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