I like to work at night. Mornings are for evaluation, reviewing the prior evenings exploits . . . my afternoons are for pondering and reflection on the what ifs and what nots . . . and as the sun goes down . . . then I paint. When I’m in the studio late, time stands still and the ghosts that inhibit my hand flee under night’s blackness. The unleashed dog, wild horse, strong wind blowing, mystery achievements scratched out in broad brush and slim piece of lead. Night envelops the bumps, blemishes, and odd notions that require a more studied honesty underneath the illumination of day’s light, in a forgiving glow. And as morning arrives, the appraisal of my efforts is fueled by a strong cup of coffee and the knowledge I’ve all day to consider my handiwork and prepare for my next adventure.
This canvas was featured in the post “The Strange Life of Blue” but I’ve made a few adjustments in the drawing elements, since then, and have come close to finalizing its text accompaniment as, “Architecture of the Final 14th Mystery with Randomized Excuses”
I’ve a long-standing interest in how language influences the interpretation of images (and vice versa) and consequently this “interest” has played a major role in how I name my paintings. In short, during the development of a particular canvas, I keep a diary of the flotsam jetsam of words that catch my eye and ear, and as the painting nears completion, those notations are synthesized into the assemblage that functions as its title. A partner of the visual experience, rather than an explanation of it.
Speaking of the next adventure . . . a detail of an odd beginning, all pointy and all up and down . . . and tonight ?
This week was spent wandering around the Grand Canyon. I didn’t take many photographs, they never seem to do the canyon justice, and all superlatives pale in the face of just being there. Here are three of the photographs I did take. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a fair amount of time below the rim, day hiking and backpacking, and having been there, being there is starting to become an addiction . . . the moment I’m out I can’t wait to be back in!
View of off the north rim, near Bright Angel Point, during a spring snow squall.
Sunrise through a stand of trees, burnt during a recent forest fire.
The Grand Canyon, north looking south, with the San Francisco Peaks visible in the distance.
I don’t consider blue my favorite color, but it does seem to wind up in an inordinate number of my paintings. Being in Arizona, I’m pleasantly inundated with an infinite variety of the hue, and I could fill page upon page with descriptive adjectives extolling its various subtleties . . . from near black to the almost painful fragility of a blue fiesta flower . And even after a dozen plus years removed from my life in Chicago, I find my self looking up at the heavens, stunned in amazement at how BLUE the southwestern sky can be
When I think of blue within the context of painting . . . I think of Yves Klein, and while many artists have laid claim to this transient hue, from Picasso to Damien Hurst, it was Klein that elevated blue into an object of desire.
My blue lines are made with a Farb-Rise Color Giant # 9400 pencil and a variety of Holbein Oil Pastel sticks. I like the Color-Giant because as the name implies, the Giant is larger than most pencils with a thicker lead, plus its pigment acts like water color, and when smudged under a dampened finger bleeds out into lovely nothing. The Holbein is softer, with a clay like consistency and once down, can be carved into . . . creating lines as varied and dynamic as life.
When Blue is on my brush it will be some variation of Anthraquinone Blue. It’s a blue that doesn’t go all sentimental, an honest hue, color of a bruise prior to morphing into purple. Blue is my failsafe beginning. When needing a start, a sudden impact . . . it begins in blue . . . where it goes from there? Well, that’s a painting’s history, isn’t it. Smacked about, and a story to tell.
So what IS my favorite color? Unequivocally green. . . the alliance of blue and yellow in all manifestations, mashed about, fighting for prominence in the reflection of light.