Wednesday, September 7, 2016

And So It Begins (oil on canvas, 2016)

There are myriad reasons why artists make art. For me, the compulsion to make images has always come from a desire to communicate concepts that can only be communicated with visual images. Even as a child, I was always deeply affected by the way that certain images could conjure up feelings and emotions in me when I saw them and was driven early on by a desire to be able to do that. The struggle to make the intangible tangible – to turn abstract concepts, feelings and emotions into form – is at the heart of the art-making process for me and many others. If we're trying to say something unique and original, something that hasn't been said before, we often find ourselves striving to find the form to be able to do that.

Very often when people first see my paintings their initial reaction is to ask "Where is that?" or "Whose house/barn is that?". Whenever I hear that, I feel that somehow I have failed to communicate because illustrating specific structures and describing the topography are not my concerns at all. I'm much more interested in finding unique color harmonies that covey emotions, capturing the energy, gesture and movement that are the direct result of struggling to make what I'm feeling manifest through shapes, lines, textures and colors, and the ways that colors and paint interact and take on a life of their own as they fall out onto the canvas and resist my will.

I've grown tired of barns and old houses – my studio is filled with them! Lately, I've been looking at little sections of my paintings and finding them more interesting and more truthful than the paintings as a whole. Divorced from the recognizable subject matter, the colors and shapes are free to say the things that I really have been trying to communicate all along. And so, for the time being anyway, I'll leave the barns and old houses and follow my muse wherever she may lead me...