Saturday, February 6, 2016

tabula rasa

Beginning a painting on a blank surface is both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. There is so much potential there in front of me, and I like to jump right in with a few confident marks to set the tone, even though I know full well that my confidence will come and go several times throughout the painting process.  

It is tempting to stop right there, but of course, there is no history of surface, no interaction of color, not enough to hold my interest. But there is excitement and enthusiasm, and the desire to keep that energy going. 

Beginning a new way of painting brings up the same feelings, as I move from a long period of time painting representational landscapes, to painting non-objective abstraction. Terror at the idea of leaving what was a successful way of working for many years, for an unknown future, and exhilaration at moving into a whole new way of thinking about painting. I am still the same person with the same eyes, I tell myself. This is not a sudden shift, an overnight flip of the switch. I have always admired artists like Ellsworth Kelly and Agnes Martin, and always looked for abstract shapes to use in my work. Now I'm just pushing that idea, and embracing new concepts of what a painting  can be. It can be the picture of freedom, intentionally unintentional in it's process, and more. I see blurred boundaries, and many connections between where I began with my representational paintings and where I am now with my most recent abstract work. My generous and trusted friend, an artist and Yale professor of music,  Richard Lalli, assures me that these connections are real. He sees how this painting from 1999 

Weight, oil on canvas

relates to this work on paper from 2015.

tabula II

And how this painting, from 2000

Rest, oil on canvas

speaks to this painting.

untitled, 2015, mixed media on canvas

I see how ideas in this watercolor 
Facing the Sea, 2014, watercolor on paper

inform this collage

tabula I, 2015, mixed media on paper

As I continue to paint abstractly, I'm sure to find more of these kinds of connections. I treasure Richard's insights in his response to my new website announcement. His words of support calm the fear, and encourage the excitement, enthusiasm, and exhilaration of beginning each day in the studio.

"This is an embarrassment of riches...hundreds, if not thousands of gorgeous and moving works showing a truly remarkable range and technical mastery...I am truly blown away by this new many-angled view of your views. Such new views." 
Thank you Richard.