Two Walls (Rose and Yellow)
2015. Pastel on sandpaper, 9-3/8 x 20-3/4 in.
I’ve been away – took a week to visit the coast and various friends and some sea creatures, and also to get away from the heat and the studio cooling problem which continues to resist solution. After years of living in San Francisco I thought I’d had enough fog to last two lifetimes, but with the heat this summer my skin soaked up the seaside fog like a grateful sponge.
We started in Ojai, that magical classic California valley of blossoms, oranges, and avocadoes. We walked into the home of our friends there and the first thing to meet my eye was this painting , hanging in the entry. I’d forgotten they’d bought it almost five years ago, and I was delighted to see it again! It was my favorite among the 30 or so pieces in the Additional Dimensions: Disappearance and the Homesteads of the Mojave collection.
I remembered then that they’d struggled to frame it. It’s a high-key, delicately colored work with little value contrast, easy to overwhelm. I didn’t envy them the challenge; I remember them asking at one point if I had any advice, and frankly I didn’t. They’d finally gone with a mid-sized white mat and a wood frame painted a deep teal – really surprising! And it looked great! The teal picked up the faint outline color.
Two Walls (Rose and Yellow) was based on a series of gestural sketches I’d done of local derelict desert homesteads. This piece, one of the earliest from the collection, caught what I was after, with the dis-integration of the two walls; the porosity and overall melting, disappearing quality of the right-hand wall; the failing of architectural geometry; and the sense of organic reclamation. I never created another quite as satisfying.
We had a fine visit with our friends, meandering through their home and studio, viewing their own inspiring work, and feeling refreshed by its beauty and their creative, generous spirits. The whole trip was like that. So refreshing. Even the fog! There’s a time for everything.