2020 Suite No. 1
2020. Acrylic and ink on canvas, 11 x 14 in.
I’ve been working at a relatively rapid clip these last few months, with several pieces usually in process at once. I’ve been frankly voracious in my need to make things happen in the studio, almost like needing a drug high – not surprising, I suppose, considering the sense of futility that drains so much of our lives at this time.
Having multiple pieces in progress contrasts with how I worked for many years in pastel. In that medium I most often worked with the piece flat on the table, applylng the pastel with a brush, and due to the fragility of the surface I needed to keep a lot of clear space around. So there wasn’t much room to have more than one thing going on at once. These pieces also tended to take more time in the planning and preparation than the execution. Here is an example from 2016, from the Additional Dimensions series which derived from gesture drawings of deteriorating homesteads in my neighborhood:
2016. Pastel on sandpaper, 12 x 22 in.
Clearly my work now often skips that planning and preparation stage, as I increasingly prize spontaneity directly on the substrate. With pastels the spontaneity usually went into the informal gestural sketch from which the painting was developed. I did draw directly with the pastels at times however – as in this homestead from 2007:
2007. Pastel on paper, 18 x 24 in.
…or this one from the same year:
2007. Pastel and charcoal on paper, 22-1/4 x 13-1/2 in.
Those seem like idyllic times, now, but of course they weren’t. But they were easier. They were easier.