Saturday, September 20, 2008

Looking for the "look"

Having made it thru the summer with a couple of big curves thrown at me from the Universe... family member's really serious medical stuff, moving Mom in to live with me.... I'm now back in the studio and painting. Not as much as I should but it's happening. And the object has completely disappeared from my work. I knew it would happen but I just didn't expect it so soon. I've been moving into color field work at a snail's pace really. I spent several years working on the Big Street Series and all of a sudden...poof! no more object on the picture plane.

It reminds me of when I made the final leap from abstract landscape a la Diebenkorn to abstract flattened space. The horizon line starting creeping up the canvas and eventually disappeared entirely, so there was no more reference to a landscape on the painting It really surprised the heck out of me. That darn horizon line just fell right off the canvas. Now all the objects have fallen off the canvas. It's a little disconcerting actually. Once again I'm faced with that bugaboo about a "style" or a "look". If you look at the work I was doing last year this time, it bears no resemblance whatsoever to the three paintings I'm working on currently. So I have to wonder, what the heck does that mean? Do I have a short attention span? Am I "stylistically" challenged? Do I get bored easily?

What I really think is...I'm restless and curious. Or at least I hope that's the reason. I feel as though I always have a new path to explore and I get a big kick out of finding out what's around the next bend. What if I did this? What if I started painting by piling loads of paint onto the canvas and dragging it around and over and beneath?

What I'm finding out is: first, it's a lot harder to paint without an object reference than it looks. How do you hold the interest of the viewer? Heck, how do I hold my own interest just moving paint around. Actually I'm fascinated by it. The way it blends and the colors moving into one another. I have to really stay on top of my color game when working this way. There is no accident happening here. It's thoroughly planned out. And I have to use a very tight palette, two maybe three colors, no more. Of course, the layers are key. One color on top of another and blending into the one beneath. It's actually an exciting way to work because it requires so much concentration and so much technical thinking. I can't just fling paint around and expect it to work.

So, I guess I'm just a formalist after all. Ha! And all this time I thought it was about process. ;-)

1 comment:

tina said...

i am all for embracing the curve ball, ha,ha....life is too short to live somebody else's dream! I really enjoyed your Golden Demo in Walnut Creek on the weekend. Had to leave a little early and didn't get a chance to talk to you :( been trying to get into your day class, oh well, maybe next session......

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