Sunday, December 2, 2007

Motherwell's Puddle

For several years I’ve been working from very quick, abbreviated sketches I do on location. Paddling, fishing, driving, walking the dogs. It has been working pretty well for the last few years. The sketches are enough to prompt my memory, remind me of what I saw in the land to make me want to paint. I am interested in where this work is going. More...........something. Abstraction? I’m not sure what.

A couple years ago, Darby and I were delivering a painting down near New York, and went to Dia:Beacon, a museum in Beacon, NY, specializing in contemporary art. I would recommend it to anyone. The massive space allows work to be seen differently than in most any other venue I have experienced. I came away with a new appreciation for many artists’ work, but was completely stunned by the work of Richard Serra. I had seen images of it in various publications, but nothing prepared me for the presence of the work.
Overwhelming. Tactile. Amazing.

Then last year for my birthday we took our kids to the Albright Knox for a Chuck Close retrospective. Another powerful show. And the AB has some other great work - Motherwell, Rothko, Kline, Diebenkorn and others. All work that I hated when I was younger, fascinated by now.

Me, a continually slow study.

Last fall - a year ago - I made a big, (four feet square), crude drawing board from a sheet of luan, and decided to do some drawings on location. I did plein aire work for several years. I’m mostly irritated by the process. Well, the sitting still part anyway. I have gotten away from it, working form the most abbreviated sketches for the past few years, spending my time outside more physically experiencing the world, not rendering it. But I have had this feeling of needing to more directly confront the subject again.

And spectators. Oh, an artist, can I see what you are doing? When I was younger, my confidence in my work was easily shaken, and I was shy to begin with. I am much more confident today, and along the way I've become fairly extroverted.

On a more current note, winter seems to have arrived.