Feb 4, 2015

Forest Bathing (fear not the landscape)

I'm still here! Let's see if I can beat my two posts a year habit in 2015. Unlikely, but hope springs eternal, even for boneheads.

More incremental progress in the studio as per usual. I sold some paintings at the end of last year which gave me a little buoyancy to carry me into what will be a new body of work.

I'm done apologizing for the landscape that constantly appears in my otherwise 'abstract' work. I'm not even sure to whom I was apologizing or why!

What made me accept this into the image? Because, even though the idea of painting mimetically from the landscape feels like the wrong way to go, I still find myself building images in the manner of a landscape. I find myself doing this not just out of habit- let's be clear. I broke myself of that habit and found some interesting results in grad school and beyond. This penchant is coming from another desire in me: to put it simply, to relate to the landscape. And let's be real, these "landscapes" are still pretty damn abstract. I was taking inventory of the things I set out to accomplish:

1. I want complex space in the work.
2. I want the colors I see in life (even if I don't need to paint the object)
3. I want to seduce the shit out of the viewer (people do love the whiff of the familiar or archetypal)

Of course, I could still do all three of those things without allowing the landscape in.

4. I want the paintings to have a clearer (but still enigmatic!) relationship to that which is visibly universal.

Enter the scape! The change happened in paint first, as it should be. I painted over this small piece that just never quite delivered and ended up with the most bizarre little "street scene":

While that had me scratching my head, I painted this:

which is decidedly tree-like… sorry for the glare
and then this:

which is probably the most traditional painting I've done in a while...

I'm not saying these are great, but they are little footholds, and I want to go somewhere new. Also, I like the idea of giving the viewer a foothold also...right before I pull it away and go somewhere far out. I'm piecing this together with some other changes, resolutions, etc:

5. To pay more attention to varying textures
6. To build more patterns of mark-making (not so many one-offs)
7. Pay better attention to value

From that comes this:

I need to fix a composition issue there... but Omicron Theta IV wasn't built in a day....
I'm thinking of titling that one the Holy Mountain after one of my favorite movies. Too much for one post. Maybe I'll beat my two post a year record after all.

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