ReBirth!

It has been 6 weeks since my ‘ReBoot.’  If my attitude and artistic energy level img_20170414_072335are any indication, it has been a success.  I am painting almost every day and completing 4 – 5 new pieces a week.  Best of all, it’s fun again!  

Every day I sit down at my table and let my curiosity run wild.  ‘I wonder what would happen if I . . . ‘ begins the conversation; and then the words cease and the spiritual connection to pigment and surface takes over.  

Here’s what I’ve learned in my switch to paper:

  • It’img_20170414_072326s fun to work flat for a change!  I folded up my easel and bought a utility table.  Now I only drip when I want to drip; and I get to sit down sometimes, too!
  • Good quality heavy paper allows for a fair amount of violence! I’m scrubbing and scratching and gluing like crazy and, so far, no tears.  I am sure I will hit that wall eventually . . . but then I’ll just make the rip a part of the art.
  • Somehow, my new setup has encouraged experimentation with new media.  I’m using spray paint and re-purposing old unsuccessful watercolors via collage, using contact paper and stencils.  The work is no less intuitive, but some of these new tools create an underlying structure, a skeleton on which all of that intuition can hang!
  • 17807264_1533135870044642_719120343726698097_oI can get to done on an 18 x 24 piece of paper much faster than I can a 36 x 42 canvas.  And it’s not just the size that makes for faster completion.  I seem to have far fewer questions about what comes next on the paper than I did on canvas.  I spend much less time staring at the work in progress trying to figure out where I’m going.
  • Frames are expensive!  A good gallery wrapped canvas can be hung without framing if the edges are clean or painted.  Not so paper!  I have 7 pieces in a show right now, all framed.  I wanted to keep the prices low to move them, but when you ad $200 worth of bargain framing, even the least expensive pieces become pricey.  I am going to invest in a mat cutter and experiment with mounting and matting inside plastic sleeves for rack display over the next couple of months.

img_20170414_072116Each of the Masonite boards I had cut at Home Depot accommodates two large pieces of paper.  I tape them down with blue tape (Don’t skimp! Opt for name brand 3M tape.  The less expensive stuff is junk).  Then I work two pieces at once.  There have been days when I had 4 going at the same time, but usually I’m working in twos. 

17097399_1496114467080116_7242458027923302477_oI still begin with mark-making, but then it’s drips and washes and cutouts and so on.  I’m working toward a dream-like image that tells an eerie subconscious tale.  While I’m not allowed to love my finished pieces, I find myself staring at them quite a bit, getting a little lost in the stories that are there.  

I’ve started working with metallic acrylics and watercolors.  Used sparingly, they can add a reflective quality that creates depth.  I find they work best when used in early layers and partially covered by subsequent layers. I like them to peek out and surprise the viewer as he/she moves about the room. 

My ‘Likes’ on the new stuff are exploding on Instagram.  I know this is a lot of vanity but 17834204_1536233263068236_1666240414359689895_oit’s also a gauge of how effectively I’m connecting with an audience.  I page through Instagram every day and for me to stop and ‘Like’ something . . . well, it has to be bold and exciting to get me to shift into that gear.  And a comment requires something even more intriguing.  So when I get 35 ‘Likes’ within an hour of posting something, I know I’m connecting well.  

Yesterday, Jana Lynch asked me to be one of her RedRoom ‘Angels.’  This is a select group of artists, each of whom will rotate a wall of art each month over 17834287_1128429863969253_6386091417113782830_othe next six months – and beyond if it works out.  I gladly accepted! I like the gallery and the location is outstanding.  But mostly, having to fill a wall with new pieces every month gives me something to work toward.  

Ultimately, the goal is to create a significant body of work that is iconic enough to be recognizable as mine and to build a large enough audience so that familiarity with the pieces becomes widespread.  Keith Haring is my hero. 

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