|Epicenter12" x 16" acrylic and painted papers on wc paper|
This piece should be called "Flailing Around" or "How Unsure of Myself Can I Be?" or how about "How Did I get Here Anyway?" Maybe even, "My Tendency Towards Suprematism!"
Late last month I finished reading a book by Philip Fradkin titled The Seven States of California. One of the chapters deals with earthquakes, faults and the coastal area of western CA, from north to south. I became very taken with his description of Mission San Juan Bautista which was built directly on a fault line (for reasons of accessing a water source). It seemed incredible to me. When the above book was finished, I moved on to another book called Assembling California, by John McPhee. This book was quite over my head in some parts but generally, it deals with the geology of California's land. More earthquakes and natural phenomenon. I kept picturing fault lines running up against each other, massive portions of land colliding, and geologic change occurring over millions of years. Impossible to wrap my mind around that at all. Nevertheless, I decided to make a piece dealing with fault lines.
My original design was just a starting point from which I quickly deviated. The lines were some of the first elements added which turned out to be the wrong way to go. These paper pieces are easier to compose if you start with the biggest moves first. The ability to see from large to small, from general to detailed, and in layers is becoming really important. It's much different from how I learned how to paint which is more like paint-by-numbers. I generally paint one area at a time, knowing in advance about value and color because I have worked to lay them down initially until I get what I want. Each part is still dependent on the whole, no matter how you start. And knowing your process is proving to be important also.
At this point I am done and don't quite know how to feel. I have gotten a long way away from where I started at the first of the year and in general, what I admire about simplicity. I keep coming back to the idea of saying more with less. Do I need to rethink that and learn more about it? Is that what I want to gravitate towards? Does it match my personality? (At this point, anyone left reading is probably laughing. Me? Brief? Right! I can be direct though which is probably a better descriptor of what I want for my art.)
I include all of the above because I guess I am treating the blog these days as an adjunct to my sketchbook which contains my thoughts on my process, my reading, and sketches of course.
Lastly, I read several articles last year featuring Linda Geary, a Bay Area artist and professor whose work I admire. In one of the articles, she mentioned that many students are simply afraid to fail in their studio; they don't push their work far enough to find out what is what and what they are all about as an artist. (I am just paraphrasing what she said.) I am really starting to wonder now about this idea. My work this year is different but still very conservative. Am I pushing enough and learning enough?
OK, hope everyone is having a good week. It is hot here still. Unbelievable.
Thanks for reading and commenting.