I love having my studio be in nature. I have made art from a variety of locations and terrains. Here are a couple of photos of where I have found inspiration in nature:
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Saluda, North Carolina
From the Canyon Series, Promontory :: noun; a point of high land that juts out into a large body of water; a headland
Inspired by the tension where the canyons and the ocean meets in southern California, I am constantly exploring the macro and the micro theme. The "netting" over the very detailed and time intensive under-painting is about creating a visual story. This is a very new and vulnerable application and I am excited to see where it goes as I move onto the next piece.
The Inspiring Ocean
“I am reminded of looking at the sea, the way one watches waves come to shore. Each wave comes in, and breaks, and slides up the beach, and falls back. We can see and feel the waves as a steady presence, a rhythm, a constant. But one can also watch a single wave, discerning how different it is from the others, how much water it moves, how high it gets, where it breaks, how far up the beach it travels.” ~ Zoe Leonard on Agnes Martin’s work.
I find a lot of similarities in my work in this statement describing Martin’s work. There is an essential paring down, a stripping away at the essence of energy and a marking of time that the ocean provides. Pull this together with the tension of the coast, where the two converge and you get a sense of synergy and violence found in nature; one without the other will not exist.
Martin always claimed the Abstract Expressionist title and not that of Minimalism. I understand her emotive impulse to capture moments in nature.
Adding color back in to my latest pieces has been a great experience. I have been using the ocean as a reference for color and gradations. Every moment the colors change due to cloud coverage, the sun's direction and the weather. The sky's reflections change the ocean's color and the wind moves the waves.
The mandala is an image narrative that I continue to explore as I love the energy that it creates and this overall exploration of circle and color has really added another layer of my story to these pieces that have now become an offering.
This latest series uses color as an inspiration from the gradation that I see in the ocean. I paint into each of the small "pebble" forms that I draw first. What I like about this effect is the level of mimicking the reflection of the sun on the ocean's surface. The overall feeling of making these pieces becomes a visual meditation.
Deconstructing the Brushstroke
I love the story about Robert Rauschenberg erasing Willem de Kooning's drawing. Or when he railed against the Abstract Expressionist school and recreated a painting of a brushstroke based on a brushstroke. He brought an intellectual playfulness to the art world - at that time, this was something needed. I had the privileged of meeting him in Rhode Island for a sculpture lifetime achievement award ceremony. I shook his hand, and as I stood in awe of meeting one of my heroes, I thanked him for his risk-taking and his paving the way for generations of artist to be okay with exploring and pushing boundaries. I was thinking a lot about the idea of deconstruction as I was working through the color portion of this drawing. I am exploring the idea of expression through a very detailed and macro/micro application. In meditation, there are moments that peak through to the space of silence and it is exhilarating. It makes you want to sit over and over and just be - to just let the experience happen. It is the ultimate of being in the moment.
A work in progress (WIP) view - Diving deeper into the macro-micro process of creating these images, I find it interesting how a brushstroke could be pulled apart, deconstructed and put back together.
At Rauschengerg's retrospective in Houston, I saw the erased drawing in person. Before I laid eyes on it, it was full of myth and story and anti-hero stuff. The books never did it justice and I thought it was a ridiculous move on his part. BUT, the moment I saw it, I got it. He wasn't tearing apart art. I saw it as his giving the finger, not to de Kooning, not to art, but to a system that tried to apply a set of rules of engagement. It was irreverent. It was awesome. It was an opening to explore and invest and play and be very serious. Art is all dichotomy at its best.
Those these paintings capture moments inspired by nature, they are also a play on the process of deconstructing emotion, color and form. How artists engage in the making of a piece, the part of that is intuitive and emotive as well as the part that relies on technical ability all come together in the creation of work. Where those forces converge and where there may be a quality of an additional force coming into play is fascinating.
Keeping my artwork small, I have the ability to be in a "studio" wherever I travel. I am able to bring a basic set of supplies with me and can set up anywhere. I love disappearing for a few weeks or longer to just let the flow of creation happen. Often I find that my pieces, shapes, designs and colors come from my adopted surroundings. I tend to start a new series while I am in a new place and those "marks' and that "language" that I discover come over to every new piece I create long after I leave. I have built many new things in this way & I love it. I crave going into nature to find a quiet place to make art.
My work is all about building up tiny marks that play off of a macro-micro tension. Because I am inspired by nature, I merge my surroundings into a composition, working from series to series. I have always been interested in something "nestled" or "embedded" in an environment. Maybe it speaks to the human nature of wanting to be safe, secure, comforted and loved. My work has become a visual meditative experience.