December 2020. Acrylic on canvas. 16 x 12 in.
I’ve starting painting over old paintings. Not that they can be all that old, as I’ve only been working with paints (as opposed to pastels) for a couple years now. But this past year – this strange year of time and solitude amid chaos and loss – has allowed me to paint, and paint, and paint, and make mistakes and learn lessons and create a lot of…well, bad work. And now, especially after this year, I’m running out of room for it.
All of that time to paint has also moved me far and fast in the direction I apparently was always headed – a direction I think the new work above illustrates well. I’d reached the end of possibilities with a canvas I’d beat to death, so I painted it over with titanium white although not thoroughly. I allowed it to remain patchy, with the surface and color uneven. The result was deeply inspiring to me, and I was immediately satisfied with this gesture in black. It feels quite different than the black gestures on plain untextured white canvases that I have been making these last few months (see here and here and here), with more dimension, a depth and a richness.
And this direction, long coming but this year accelerated, is clearly deeper and deeper into abstraction – yes, and expressive abstraction, that much reviled classic American style. It is exciting to me, I celebrate it, and I celebrate this cursed year because, through it all, I’ve arrived at this.
I have so much to say on this – on all of it. I had planned to include quite a bit more in this post – about this past year, and Time, and space. So much percolating in my brain, almost painfully. And perhaps those thoughts will show up in future posts. But maybe not; I’ve lost the patience to write. After all, I’m painting, not writing. That’s the point.
Happy New Year. We made it.