Conversation in Taormina
2019. Acrylic and charcoal on canvas. 18 x 18 in.
It was a lifetime ago that I was in Taormina, ancient city of the Greeks high above the Ionian Sea, in the shadow of Mt. Etna. Did I have a conversation there? I’m sure I did, as I was traveling with a companion of a lifetime with whom conversation has only ever been interrupted, never ceased. While working on this piece the title formed itself in my mind, and so it was. Conversation in Taormina.
I ruminated literally months over whether to add a sort of warm rose patch to the upper left, which I think would have been a becoming option, but in the final analysis it would not have fit this title. That rose. Too pretty. Too rococo. It would not have fit in that conversation.
So here it stopped. With the gold shapes and Ionian blue dreams recovered from antiquity and the smeary charcoal lines swinging like jazz.
I wish a happy birthday to my companion from Taormina. May the art of our conversation never be done.
2019. Acrylic on panel, 11 x 14 in.
These two paintings were completed almost exactly a year ago. They were new in style and exciting to me. I felt the hint of something I’d been looking for. A lot of work was launched from this new direction.
They both feature acrylic paint manipulated with brayer and brush, as well as china marker and ink pen. They are both fully improvisational.
2019. Acrylic on canvas, 11 x 14 in.
I suppose I might say something about titles. Titles are integral for me. If they’re wrong for the work, they just don’t stick; I will hate the painting until the title is fixed. If the painting is in some way unsuccessful or I don’t care about it, the title will be just as unsuccessful. Most often, except for untitled works, the name arises to my mind sometime during the process and is then stuck like glue – even occasionally shaping the work itself, in the end. It’s the poet in me, I guess. Words matter. Sound matters. Rhythm and melody matter.
Untitled works are usually not paintings for which I cannot find a title. They are, rather, paintings that reject further comment. I do not wish to contextualize their reception with words.
It actually means a lot to me. Can’t live with wrong titles.