I am experimenting with painting in the detailed parts of the background — what you might call the street and the sidewalk– and then adding the people. Trees and walls and windows will follow.
Last March I began a completely new series of paintings, a sharp change of direction from the highly-textured text-based abstractions I’ve been making the past few years. The insular first months of the Covid-19 pandemic coincided with a long cold, grey damp spring here in the Great Lakes midwest, conditions conducive to long hours of uninterrupted work in the studio. Inspired by a one-of-a-kind piece (“Dream Writing,” below) I painted years ago and dreams I’ve written down in journals over the years, I set off in this new direction.
These paintings are not literal transcriptions of dreams, but they begin with an image from a dream and the composition grows from that. Personal associations, inspiration from other artists (in the art we call that a “reference” not a rip-off), stuff hanging out in my studio, nature, memory and emotion – it all gets painted onto the canvas. In the painting below you’ll even find pretty little Covid-19 viruses, based on the scientific models of the virus I was seeing in the news at the time.
As I get into this series I’m less afraid to portray people, and less abstract in style, but just as painstakingly detailed as ever. It’s more of a compulsion that an artistic choice, that. And here is the piece I’ve just begun:
We’ll see where this takes me.
The heart of this show is my drawings, mostly taken from sketchbooks I’ve kept over the years. Ten original drawings, each about 9×12″, are professionally framed and look AWESOME. More original drawings will be for sale, unframed. And I’m going to do something interesting with copies of 100 or so more drawings. Most pieces have prices from $60 – $300. Come look! Saturday, Nov. 2, from 4- 7pm, with snacks, and music at 6pm.
I once had a beautiful Shepard/huskie mutt who was completely devoted to me; she followed me from room to room around the house and would plunk herself down behind me when I stood at the easel to paint. There were years during her lifetime when I suffered loss and heartbreak, but the presence of this loyal companion helped me, as she seemed to say to me: just KEEP BREATHING and you’ll make it through all this. This piece was recently acquired by a collector. It brings me joy to have this piece going out into world.
A detail shot of KEEP BREATHING is below:
Join me Friday, April 5 from 6-9 pm for the opening of the Art Makers North group show at the beautiful David Adler Center in Libertyville:
Conservation Conversation is a visual discussion about the natural beauty of our environment, ecological issues and the ideal practice of sustainable living. Artists’ works in this show represent a variety of mixed media and broadly encompass nature-related subjects, the natural sciences, natural products used as art or the relationship of the urban environment to nature.
I’ll be exhibiting a painting in this show at the Art Center Highland Park, Jan. 10-29, 2019. Opening reception is Thursday, January 10, 5:30-7:30pm at 1957 Sheridan Road, Highland Park, IL.
I have been experimenting with a printmaking technique that is new to me: the collagraph. I have printed from etched copper and zinc plates before, and in some ways this is a simpler method: the printing plate does not get coated or dipped in a chemical bath–instead you print from a plate that is basically a collage. Using mat board as a base, you create a collage of cut shapes, incised lines and material glued to board, anything that is flat enough to go through the press. Then, using cards, brushes, tarleton, fingers, you spread printmakers ink on the place and run it through a press so it prints onto a damp sheet of printmaking paper.
Another experiment from the print shop:
It’s done. I did EVERYTHING.