Monday, April 13, 2015

New Work: The New Normal and Some Thoughts on Differences

The New Normal
10" x 13" Image size-Matted to 14" x 18"-acrylic on wc paper
The above title was selected while I was sitting in the water seminar at UC Davis last week. The first speaker was talking about the history of water as a resource in building and expanding much of the Western United States. He made an offhand comment about how our collective love of green lawns couldn't be sustained for much longer and how brown lawns and different types of low water usage landscapes would be the "new normal." I visualized a piece of work that for me, would represent that idea.

As I was sitting there listening I was also thinking about what I was learning-how it might be incorporated into my paintings. I am envious and in awe really of other artists who can take a vague idea, something that is difficult to literally represent, and turn it into art. Trying to represent something, to get an idea out, is always a dicey proposition. The results can be misinterpreted or worse, not even understood! But perhaps that is a good thing. When I was in high school I remember being frustrated on many occasions. I would read something and have an idea of what it meant only to find out that my interpretation was "wrong" somehow. How could I not be smart enough to grasp what the author was trying to say? Years later, I have come to think that it is this "misinterpretation" of things that makes each of us unique somehow. Different ideas add flavor and variety to the mix. And different ways of understanding things can prompt other ways of thinking or problem solving. Yes, it would be nice if we all understood what the author (or artist) was trying to say but other ideas and ways of looking at things have validity too. It is important (my opinion) to honor that difference. And so with that idea in mind, I made the above piece. I chose colors and shapes and proportions that for me, could represent things such as water, dirt, lawns and "cookie cutter" approaches and structures. I have one more version of this idea planned also so stay tuned!

Hope everyone had a nice weekend and that Monday is off to a good start. Thanks for reading and commenting.


  1. deep thoughts in this post! I remember working very hard on a lawn (years ago) and thinking I have to work so hard to maintain this yard I never have time to just sit in it! Seems crazy. I could also identify with what you wrote about not being in sync with the thoughts of others in a class. That described me during my first years of my graphic design education. The teacher would say something and I’d nod like I got it (and everyone else got it) but inside I’d be saying whhhaaaaaaa???? why don’t I see this??? It was frustrating..but I agree that our individuality is what makes art art. Your painting is great.

  2. Libby- I think you do a great job expressing your feelings not only with your art but your writing as well. Your breakdown of a landscape in simple shapes and values certainly captures a sense of place. Thanks for sharing your art and thoughts. Have a great day.

  3. Good post. Enjoyed the visual interpretation of your viewpoint.


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