the thought-stream of an artist and writer


I am in a perpetual state of bemusement.
I am always searching but don't always know what I have found.
Putting things together physically, visually or mentally in the language of symbols, or letters, or of clues of some sort is a life long obsession.
This blog is a narrative, a daybook of sorts.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Small Hours

Small Vision, acrylic, oil, thread and gold leaf on panel, 8x8


Every winter I do a kind of walkabout in my studio. Because it is cold and I have little light and I am usually working many hours at a job I try not to frustrate myself with producing anything important. Instead, I change everything about my working process. I "go see". Last summer and fall I was working on large sheets of paper with acrylic and oil pastel. In January I switched to little 8x8 panels and canvases and went back to using oils. But I added things... gold and silver leaf, thread and cloth and fur, beads and buttons, glitter. I had been thinking about this for a long time and now was the time to play with it. Usually, for most of January I make terrible art. I don't know what I am doing in a more fundamental way than usual, so I don't know when or how to shape when something good appears. Eventually themes appear and I settle in to expand upon them. I love to experiment. Essentially all my work is about that. I paint to discover.

Record, oil and gold leaf on canvas, 8x8


When I start to get a glimmer of what this work is about, then I can start to figure out how to say what I think it is saying. I never really know about my work. There are layers I understand, and deeper ones I do not touch. After all these years I have come to realize that there is a dangerous place in one's work  where it does not pay to meddle. There is a dark magic there that cannot be revealed through words, through analysis, only honoured. Respected. I know when it is there. Sometimes a painting has it right from the start, and it is my job to enrich it. Sometimes it is very hard won indeed. The fact that my work, for all it's abstraction, is intimately tied to my moods and experiences is a conundrum deeply confounding and confusing to me. I'd like to know myself but this is a river I cannot swim. I paint to figure it out as far as that is possible, but it is Pandora's box. I hang on to the threads that make sense and let go of the ones that will pull me into somewhere I don't need to find myself. The whole process is a kind of faith thing. A trust that it will all,  if not make sense exactly, at least hang together in a functional way. It is a provisional life.

Small Snag, oil, silver leaf and thread on panel, 8x8


Waitling, oil and gold leaf on canvas, 8x8
For more blogs on this subject; Where to Put Your Feet When Your Head is Occupied Elsewhere

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