Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Love Affair With Rain

The beginning of new work in the studio for my upcoming November show

I once asked a grad school peer, "How does one know what to make from day to day in the studio or even show to show"? His answer was "it's like falling in love. You'll know it when you get there- it just feels right!" I haven't stopped thinking about that.

Anyone who knows me would be the first to say that I have a nearly obsessive love-affair with natural pigments, Nihonga, arcane gesso recipes, obscure paint potions-alchemy combined with abstraction and the fusion of art and science (all subjects that will be addressed here on this blog), however none of that really can answer the What question about the work. It answers How, but not what.

Most would be surprised to hear an abstract painter addressing this issue. Are formal concerns enough? Is intuitive process alone ok? Yes, definitely, but for depends. It just feels too insignificant to wake up and say "I think I'll make a red painting today" or maybe if I search through some Facebook or Instagram images, I'll see some inspiration. That may bring a painting or two, but not a continuous flow. I need a mission and I have a lot to say.

It was back in the 90's when I had the opportunity to hear Mihaly Csikszentmahalyi speak about his  work on the subject of flow at the University of Chicago. He spoke of the optimal experience and cultivating purpose. I believe as an Artist, when those go hand and hand, love will come. And when that love comes, it will surely be communicated to others and more importantly, flow continuously and authentically.  It will dictate action all by itself allowing an abstract painting to evolve somewhere between consciousness and unconsciousness. We need consciousness to begin, we need unconsciousness for the alchemy to unfold.

What am I painting right now? Rain. What am I reading right now?

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