I've come to believe that literally the paint itself is of central importance in my work. I've been experimenting for years with different viscosities, textures, sheen, and overall look of the paint, both oils and acrylics, to come up with a quality which resonates the kind of feeling I hope to achieve in the finished work. In the end, nothing communicates like the quality and characteristic of the paint itself.
In my latest work I've been mixing a variety of paints, and applying with a number of different tools and techniques to achieve the look I'm after. These new paintings are built up over many layers, often beginning with charcoal and graphite, then washes of thin transparent paint, additional layers of archival mediums mixed with dry pigments, and finally thick impasto applications of pure color. I'm liking the results very much. The contrast of the materials and techniques built up through the layers brings a level of excitement and liveliness to the work. I very much look forward to continuing the exploration.
Tanto, 48" x 48", mixed media on canvas
It is perhaps is a bit of a cliche, but what is it about gardens and painting? We have worked extremely hard through the years to nurture our gardens into existence here in our corner of New England. And while as an abstract painter I don't paint the landscape per se, how could the soul feeding beauty we derive from this place not work its way into the paintings somehow?
This painting, (Senza, 30" x 40"), is the first in a new series I'm creating called Sensorium. Broadly defined, Sensorium is the totality of those parts of the brain that receive, process and interpret sensory stimuli. The sensorium is the supposed seat of sensation, the place to which impressions from the external world are conveyed and perceived.
With this new series, I'm interested in exploring how we perceive and sense experience. Is it possible that aspects of a painting might stimulate more of our senses than just the visual one? It is common and easy for us to visualize soaring images in our mind's eye when listening to a moving symphony for instance. Is it also possible we might be able to develop our sensitivities in ways that make it just as easy for us to hear music in our mind's ear when "looking" at a work of art?
In all my paintings I reach for an elusive quality which transcends a work’s physical properties and can only be perceived intuitively. It's that unseen intangible essence which gives a painting "presence", making it something more than decoration or craft. It's the mysterious act of perceiving a work of art with the "sixth sense" if you will.
While this will continue to be a central focus in my work, in this series I will be exploring a more literal engagement with the senses to see if something might be created which holds out the possibility of resonating beyond the visual.... to the sensorium.
Its always amazing to me how much energy it takes to mount an exhibition. Usually for me, there is a rush of new work in anticipation of the show, all the work involved in cataloguing the pieces to go in the show, wiring all the paintings and mounting the exhibition itself, and then all the effort that goes into get the word out.
Opening night is always a lot of fun, and worth all the effort. Old friends and new collectors stop by, and it is always a great feeling to talk about and show what you've been up to. Inevitably, there is always a bit of a let down when it is all over and the show comes down. Time to pick up the pieces and carry on to the next thing.
This time around, in addition to the usual reorganizing and cleaning of my studio, I decided to build a big new easel in anticipation of larger works I'm contemplating. Very simply designed, the new easel can accommodate huge paintings should I go that way. Here are a couple of pictures of it, one almost complete in the full studio space, and another with the first painting (30" x 48") just about ready to come of it.
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