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   Also please check out my second blog, The Painting Archives to see older (pre-2004) paintings for sale.


Saturday, July 08, 2017
  an evolving idea


untitled as yet; 42"x36" oil/mixed media on panel


A change has been underway in my work over the past year --a move toward more defined shape, and higher contrast, and more developed use of line. These changes in the form of my imagery have been coupled with a shift in what the work means to me--its content. 

While I have long tied my imagery to specific places in which I have spent time such Ireland, Sweden, New Mexico and New Zealand, I find myself increasingly involved in ideas that are less referential. Although my specific experiences in these places remain very important, underlying my current work is something more universal and spiritual than geographic. I feel like I am finding my way into a bigger idea--an expression of the rightness and order of the natural world, encompassing some of its intriguing dichotomies--fragility and power, movement and stillness, peace and violence, present moment and timelessness. 

In earlier posts I've written about moments of strong emotional connection in various wild, rugged places on my travels, and that these moments take hold as memories that feed my work. In the past few years with all the travel I have done, these memories have piled one upon another. I wonder if it is the accumulation of so many of these memories that have pushed me into the current changes in my work, That maybe what I am doing is attempting an integration of these experiences, drawing on what unites them. (A simplified overview; the shift has taken many months with various influences, processes, observations and intentions in play--perhaps material for a future post.)

untitled as yet; 60"x36" oil and mixed media on panel

In the painting above, I recognize the source of the strong shapes as the dramatic coastal areas of Ireland and New Zealand, where I have spent time in the past year, but I feel that I've pushed these shapes in a more iconic and symbolic direction. Though the painting is certainly related to past work, I am thinking about it in a different way, and perhaps that is the real key to making changes. In my work overall, I'm experiencing a welcome release from identifying my work with specific place memories, which was usually the case in the  past. 

In some of my new paintings, color plays a strong role in the form of bright glazes over dark underlying areas. Again I am feeling a freedom in using color for pure visual and emotional impact, apart from any direct reference to my memories, yet evocative of nature's contrasts. 

untitled as yet: 16"x16" oil/mixed media on panel

None of the paintings in this post have titles...which shows that I am still in a little uncertain about how I want to describe them. The past months have been a time of transition; the piece below took many weeks to resolve and was the first in which I felt I'd found a place to land for a while. A struggle yes, but invigorating. The journey is young and I'm excited by the possibilities opening up. 


untitled as yet: 42"x36" oil/mixed media on panel


 
Comments:
It is so valuable to hear your thoughts on this remarkable shift. I am loving your new direction. I always admire artists whose work changes gradually from time to time, and it is fascinating to get a peek inside the process. I look forward to hearing more! I'm specifically interested in what keeps you from becoming frustrated in the struggle and the search.
 
thank you, Ruth. I would say that frustration is always part of the process but because I've been at this a long time I have learned that things will work out --so the frustration is temporary.
 
It is so wonderful to read about your evolving shifts in your paintings... and how content affects those shifts. I believe very strongly that after an artist has identified their own design elements and principles personal to their own history and nature... and keep those constant in their work... that an artist should go through changes as they search deeper into themselves to discover their connection to the earth. It is interesting to see that you are evolving into more shapes as I have been evolving away from shapes... for me it is geometric shapes with strong contrasts that I have in my paintings for many years. Just this year I found myself moving away from these shapes... and my content had a big influence on my changes. Here's to the further journey for both of us.
 
Donna, thanks for your words. It makes sense that change happens as we learn and go deeper and that this change happens organically over time--not to negate the more sudden changes or insights that sometimes happen in people
's work, but for me it's always a slow process. All best to you and your work.
 
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