Monday, January 12, 2009
Painting in Winter
As the days get perceptibly longer and the temperatures fall, I spend more time in the studio, and for the first time since I began writing here, am going address some of what happens while I'm there. After all, what I want to uncover is an evolved way of painting the subject matter that interests me, and that subject matter remains, as it has for a long time, rocks and water. But subject matter is only the starting point, or perhaps not even that. It becomes a distant reference the deeper I get into any given painting. Painting is a process, and the physical act of moving paint around on a support has to be joined with patience and the use of appropriate technical tools. It's not enough to mix, shove and scrape the paint until an abstraction is produced that can be interpreted as some sort of recognizable image. It is also not good enough, to my mind, to resort to obvious narrative. In other words, I have to work harder - thinking about what I know of Matisse, De Kooning, and their descendants, Diebenkorn and Brown. Their work with spatial relationships and chromatic harmonies are informative, but not imitable. In a confrontation with a canvas, it's what makes me uncomfortable that counts.