The first one is called This Is. Painted in the early 80’s it is currently rolled up in my garage. It was based on a doodle I did in my journal. There’s a lot of collage in there; mostly little drawings from my journals.
This next one is called Warning Label. I did it while studying at the University of Maryland in 1995. The professor wanted us to do something with words. I wasn’t interested in words, or at least it wasn’t something I wanted to be central to the painting. There was a bottle of rubber cement in my paint box so I copied the words of the warning label from the back of the bottle onto the canvas with charcoal, then I painted around it. It’s one of my favorite paintings. I still own and hang it in my house.
I have worked primarily in acrylics since the mid-80’s. The greenish cast of this painting is unusual. I tend toward warmer colors. But I don’t expect it to stay that way. There are layers and layers to put on there still.
Layering paint is not so much a technique as a work-around. I do not have any particular mastery over my medium. My interaction with the canvas is adversarial. It’s a battle not a dance. I have to fight to get it to do what I want and the process is made more difficult by the fact that I don’t usually know what I want until I see it.
The idea of executing a painting with precision and unlimited technical skill is not something I have any interest in. Surprises and accidents are the rule. Making art is more about fixing something broken than making a “real” version of something in my head. I don’t see paintings in my head. I’m sure there are artists who do, but I do not have that skill.
Here is another old one. I called it Three Crows. This one was painted en plein air on a sidewalk on Mill Avenue (near Arizona State University). I was with a comrade doing an art show on the street. (They call those “Pop Ups” now I guess).
It’s probably in a landfill now. I gave to a girlfriend about 25 years ago. I regret giving away so many paintings.
Most of these pictures are relatively large–at least 30″ on the short side. But I’ve done some really big ones. This next one was 96″ tall. This picture was taken while it was still in progress. I’m quite proud of it, though it remains nameless and has never been hung on a wall.
In 2010 I moved the family across the country after my career collapsed. The painting was removed from its stretchers and has been folded up and in storage ever since. I hope to stretch it again someday.
My work is worth no money. In my early, idealistic days I reasoned that selling ones art was a slippery slope. Once you figured out what people wanted, the temptation to repeat oneself would be overwhelming.
By the way, this post was suggested by BDR. And I agree that it was worth doing. Thanks.