2021. Acrylic, charcoal, collage on canvas. 14 x 11 in.
The earliest of the new collages. Surprised me completely. Still trying to get back in the swing after October’s Open Studio Art Tours, I’d prepared two canvases with texturing, a coat of titanium white, and then a gesture set in black acrylic with a round brush. But I didn’t know where to go from there. Both canvases sat around for a while, then I got a sense that I wanted to stain this one with a dilute phthalo blue. I then went over parts of it with some more opaque blue, and while the paint was still wet got an impulse to draw into it with a narrow piece of willow charcoal.
I liked what was happening, but wasn’t sure of a next step and set it aside. In the meantime, I was throwing some translucent collage pieces on a painting that I’d started early last year and that had come to a dead stop. I picked up some of the collage pieces and started placing them on this blue painting. Excitement! It took a lot of fidgeting but eventually I got just the balance I wanted.
The colors felt like pennants hanging in the sky, which brought to mind Raoul Dufy and his many paintings of regattas in French harbors. But I saw this painting as purely celestial, in the heavens.
I finished the painting on the one-year anniversary of my mother’s death. As she lay dying I saw her in a twilit world, without color. But since then I feel her rocketing around the cosmos in a kind of super-sled, attending to business I can only imagine. This painting is for her.