Pining for You
It is tempting to hurry when I feel this way - to pack the day with all the things and bustle from one thing to the next. But the only way to slow time is to stop and be very, fully, completely present. The vastness of everything can be felt in the moment. It gets lost in the busyness of hurry. Maybe my spirit animal should be the slow loris or the turtle?
Though the gorge is rugged, rocky, sharp and angular, it is blanketed nearly year-around by mist. It sneaks into valleys and between trees, obscuring jagged edges and steep drop-offs, making everything softer, gentler. I, too, am softened by the gorge - by views that make me teary, elevations that test my mettle, mists that roll in and obscure the world below.
About the art - working with a limited color palette, I focused on building texture using paper towel, rubber wedge, palette knife, beat-up brush and spray bottle. To my surprise, I have no process pics to show you, as I was so caught up in the soft mood of this abstraction that I forgot to get out the camera. As always, fighting the urge to overly define the details. No "happy little trees" here! Just blurred blobs of suggestion.
I am so grateful for all the love and support for my art this year, especially through this wild rollercoaster that 2020 has been thus far! THANK YOU to each and every one of you who commented, liked, loved, shared, rented or purchased my art...and if you want a little more of my brand of malarkey (for you or for someone else), now through Monday get 25% off with coupon OMGSOGRATEFUL on this site.
Immensity Taps at Your Life
Vast roots hold trees of unbelievable size on cliff edges and along rock walls, defying the howling winds that whip through the gorge and push the branches forever in one direction or another. Standing next to this immensity after hours of climbing higher and higher leaves me feeling small. Sure, I climbed the mountain. But this “great calm being” has been holding on to the same mountain for a lifetime.
About the art: I return to scraping back into unprimed wood panel - this time on a much larger scale. Allowing the movement of the paint to dictate the tree branches and the revealed wood panel to become the texture of the tree. This requires some fast, intuitive work as the surface paint must not be allowed to fully cure before scraping through to the wood. I continue to focus on unexpected colors and in resisting the urge to perfect every branch, instead allowing the viewers eye to follow the suggested movement of the tree into the fluorescent canopy.
Nearly annual wildfires raging through the gorge leave burn scars on the trees, which become a beautiful testament to the tenacity and strength of these silent sentinels in the fall. The leafy canopy gone, what appear to be the bare bones and skeletons of scorched trees remind us of the resilience and robustness of life.
As I pass by these beauties, I pause and touch them with my hands. They, like me, bear the scars of living in the world - events beyond their control, sometimes the carelessness of others, sometimes just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yet they stand, they bloom, they shelter, they grow. And so can I. And so I do, out here amongst the trees.
About the art: Beginning with a mess of paint on unprimed wood panel, keeping it wet and carving through the paint with palette knife and scraper. Allowing re-exposed bare wood to become the texture of trees. Slowly adding layers. Using spray bottle, paper towel and rubber wedge to add texture. Allowing strong diagonals to connect the two pieces. Resisting the temptation to overly detail while pursuing some color intensity.
About the art: another piece in the new series, "A View from the Gorge". This piece painted on plywood. Using many layers of liquid acrylics and a spray bottle to form the underpainting. Painter's tape to mask the underpainting into tree shapes. Several layers of glaze to create the background.
Inescapable and Inevitable
I don't mind it, that place of real being. It reminds me of what I have chosen - to be open-hearted and vulnerable in the world. The price of admission to open-heartedness is that moment of surrender to what we cannot control or change. Acceptance. I open my two hands and release that which I have held closely, allowing it to transform into whatever it will be,
About the art - This is the first piece in a new series, called "A View from the Gorge". There is an experimental technique here - choosing wood panel for its very woodiness, scraping through very wet paint to expose the wood grain as part of simulated trees. As always, trying to hover on the edge of abstraction and realism. Choosing a fluorescent underpainting as the most unlikely of starts, but knowing that sometimes the light in the gorge actually does have an otherworldly luminescence.
Living Openly on the Edge
Lean Where YOu Can
We all need a place to lean sometimes. A person to lean on, a hand to hold. Perhaps words of encouragement in a book, a poem, a social media post, a blog. And hugs! Where we can - hugs.
As the nation awaits resolution, and as our lives continue to unfold in our own little corners of the world, I wish for you, dear reader, a place where you can be less fierce, where you can be soft and rest your spirit.
About the art: painting on bare wood using a limited color palette, with a focus on painting from the shadows. Moving the paint with rubber wedge, allowing the creating of happy accidents. Allowing the happenstance creation of texture to define the hair. Seeing both softness and resilience emerge.
Of Fossiled Escarpments
Simultaneously, I've found books of poetry in my hands every day. Mary Oliver, Jane Hirschfield and one new to me, Edwin Morgan. The combination of pitting my body against physical challenges and the elements and the overwhelming beauty of nature AND the heart-wrenching poetry of these people who paint with words has my spirit cracked wide open. Which, in itself, is much like standing on the edge of a cliff.
About the art: I have exceeded the 80 millions layers requirement in this piece! Beginning with an older painting on paper, mounted on a canvas, painted over with a portrait. Add to that a thick layer of textured gesso, the ephemera of torn palette paper from old oil paintings, and layers of acrylic paint. It only makes sense that a painting rocks and sediment should contain the heavy layers of life.