The beginning of January I was compelled to paint a lonely hibiscus on our back deck. This flower was absolutely astounding to be blooming in a winter setting as well as fighting climate change to start the new year.
Somewhat surprisingly the painting (titled “Hibiscus”) literally sold before the paint dried and spawned a series that was quickly sketched out on a piece of cardboard as pictured above. Judy Costello, (J/Costello Gallery, Hilton Head, SC) was visiting that day and decided spur of the moment for an April solo show based on the cardboard scribbles picture above.
The issue at hand is that most of my paintings take 4 to 6 weeks to produce because of the 60 plus paint layers combined with drying time etc. This schedule was a much more abbreviated time period of three plus months for five paintings. Clearly, I was excited to have the show based on new unexplored subject matter, but anxious about the time table. The first three weeks I was up at 4:30 am seven days a week. Heavy duty dual drying lamps were going all day long and sometimes dangerously into the night. This was ongoing until things seemed under control after the first five or six weeks. Once the first couple of paintings were semi-complete, I took a deep breath and relaxed back to a normalized schedule.
The subject matter for the paintings were iphone photos I had taken of the original hibiscus on our deck. I rotated some of the photos, cropped them and collaged some in photoshop. A couple images were made up from memory from several imaginary sketches as well. All in all, a very holistic and intuitive day by day approach.
We are now beginning August and approaching my birthday. Always a marking point.
I have been working diligently on larger work started at JOYA: AiR (Spain) in June as small studies and now evolving into much larger paintings. I’m now framing the smaller studies to exhibit at L/Ross Gallery in Memphis and tie into a larger show later in upcoming months. The small watercolors have a life of their own that gives them a unique identity full of spontaneity and energy. They really look nothing like the larger paintings that later evolve. I try to find solutions constantly about larger paintings as decision making changes, but not so with the watercolors. They just are…and very, very intuitive. No thinking or hand-wringing involved.
After being home from JOYA, I discovered a couple more possible residencies and am now applying to them for 2023. They are both in the United States and a bit more accessible. Each locale is on a different coast and each offers completely different experiences and with a varied demographics. I am always looking for new experiences in interesting circumstances. It’s always refreshing to have a future adventure to look forward to and meet people with different backgrounds and points of view. I especially enjoy bridging the generational gap.
My goal after my mid-August birthday is to produce a body of work that is not necessarily gallery ready. I have pre-made stretchers and panels standing by waiting for the beginnings.
Vague ideas are floating around, but nothing solid yet. This work is selfishly intended just for me and not necessarily for the galleries. My challenges are simple things like developing unique tools to apply the paint and make marks. I’m thinking more in terms of larger curves and supporting marks with layered primary colors. But really…who knows at this point? Maybe some smaller beginning paper studies will guide the way. I know I want them to be tribal, personal, and humanistic.
May 10, 2022
The last few weeks have been consumed with prep for our upcoming trip mid-May to Sicily (in the works since pre-Covid) and a June residency after at JOYA: arte + ecologica off the grid in rural Spain. There have been many, many more odds and ends to deal with than anticipated. Crazy multiple flights, flight redos, car rentals, Air BnBs, overseas wire transfers, meds, international phone service, art supplies, shipping, etc. All good things to fuss over, but time consuming. I have divided my planned time into pre-trip and post-trip.
I began a TO DO list of Sicily 12 months ago and it has been everchanging. Now I think it covers all the high points. Daily changes will naturally occur for us. Personally I am looking for dwellings that are rustic, rural and elevate my art and vocabulary. Baroque churches are fine, but simplicity is better. I’m trying to go into this with an open mind, but still have ideas of what to expect and see.