Monthly Archives: October 2008

Ladders and Bridges

After many months of pulling my hair out and realizing that my dearly-beloved insight drawings are really more a means to stir my soul than anyone else’s, I had to make a decision about what to do for open studios. If I can figure out a way to frame and present the drawings, maybe I’ll put a few out for open studios, but I’ve decided that I need to do what I know will sell and will be more accessible to more people.  In other words, I need to finish the many paintings I’ve started.  But I have to say that my motivation is waning.  

Now that I’ve found this deeply satisfying connection in the drawing process it is so difficult to move back to painting.  It feels tight and controlled and deliberate and sludgy.  And yes, I know the obvious solution is to try to incorporate some of the drawing process in the painting process, but paint is a different creature.  It is not endlessly giving.  It doesn’t flow.  It has to be pushed around and scraped along and wiped over.  It is a slow and stubborn child that needs a heavy hand.  Sometimes it surprises me with a textural gift or an unlikely mark, but mostly it just sits there staring at me, going “yeah, now what?”.

There has, however, been a little inspiration.  I was looking at the rag-tag mob of paintings slouching in the corner of my studio and trying to figure out how they all connect.  What is common to them all?  They look so different.  So then I tried to group them.  There are the grey ones.  And the biology inspired ones.  And the color field, drippy ones.  And what I noticed is that they all seem to have some connection to physical structures.  The gray ones have ladder-shapes in them.  The color-fields have bridge-inspired structures.  And the biology ones are concerned with the structure of matter on a microcosmic level.

I’ve long been interested in this idea of structures – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual structures.  I suppose I have always been fascinated with the structures we build in response to the chaos we feel and see.  We understand the world only in terms of the structures we’ve built to traverse it.

I like the juxtaposition of structure and chaos.   Chaos alone is inaccessible and unfathomable.  Structure alone is dull and restrictive.  But together, when the right balance is struck and each is respectful of the beauty and necessity of the other, then there is life.  Sound like a previous post to anyone else?

Waxing philosophic again.  Oops.

Anyway.  The point is, there are all these allusions to structure in my paintings, so I decided to keep going down that path in an attempt to unite the mob and build bridges (ha ha) between my many and varied expressions; so that it looks like I know what I’m doing when people come to my studio in one month’s time.

Also, I discovered a new kind of paper called “Yupo”, which is not technically paper.  It is, in fact, some kind of synthetic material – plastic based.  It’s quite amazing what you can do with it.  Because it’s plastic based it doesn’t absorb liquid the way paper will.  So, when you apply ink or water (or both) it pools on the surface, until it eventually dries.  But even better, the surface doesn’t buckle or wrinkle at all.  It just stays perfectly flat.  I’m still experimenting with, but here are some of my initial discoveries: