You possess the blowhole of a whale
Acrylic on Duralar, 7" x 5", 2010
What are you working on in your studio right now?
Currently I am working through a series of mid-size paintings. It's been nearly 4 years since I've worked on canvas and it's a very different way of thinking from the collage series I have been focusing on during this period. The "house" has been a significant lifelong metaphor, referencing my interior architecture, frequently appearing in dreams and is the place in which these paintings occur. This series is simply about windows -- allowing the unknown a way in and me a way out -- about opening up and allowing a breeze to pass through. On a slightly different note, I feel the process of painting is a kind of breathing; we inhale and in doing so fill up the canvas, this can go on for many years, and then we exhale and find ourselves making very sparse paintings where maybe the gessoed surface is enough -- this belief in a respiratory cycle in the making of art fascinates me.
grid of the small collages on Duralar
I'll fly away
Acrylic on Duralar, 7" x 5", 2010
Can you describe your working routine?
My working routine changes during the course of the year. I have a gallery during the summer/fall months and that requires most of my time. During that period I am able to work before I open the store and when I shut down, so that I occupy the studio in short bursts. The rest of the year I am able to focus my energies full time on making art. During this time I try very hard to get up reasonably early (not easy) as there is very little day light this far north and I will paint until 5 or 6. It's a very simple life style repeated daily.
Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?
Studio spaces are so important. I have been here in Northport for 10 years, in the past I would find a small work space in town for the summer months and then move to the larger gallery space after it shut down for the season. I live in the back of the business and this year I converted a room upstairs into a year round studio -- it's a little too pretty for a studio and it would be nice if it were larger but it works just fine and I am very lucky.
Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.
Regarding process; oil painting is so different from the collages. It's as though a whole different part of my personality steps up. In either case there is no final image in mind. With the paintings I start making lines and applying fields of color, waiting for something to appear. Regarding the current series I didn't even realize the forms were portals/windows until quite late. On the negative side, I have over time found that the editor in me has very strong opinions as to how to finish a canvas. It was a revolt against that voice which led me to start the collage series and effectively shut him up for years.
The process for the collage pieces is two part. The "work" is composing all the pieces. I will paint or draw on hundreds of sheets, this is sometimes gratifying but mostly tedious and it's a task that is ongoing. The series is in need of constant fresh material to pull from. The enjoyable part is to make something out of the mess, there are literally an infinite number of possible combinations. I will have two long tables set up on which to work and have about 10 pieces going at a time. There is a third table where the pieces are piled and sorted through. I simply go through the stack looking for interesting bits and pieces to build around. In the case of the small acetates (actually Duralar) each one usually takes about a month to come to fruition. Even after they are finished I end up keeping less than half. This series constantly surprises me.
collage on Duralar, 43.5" x 24" x 5",2011
What are you having the most trouble resolving?
I have always been curious about light and now, from working on layers of acetate, with transparency. This has led me to begin to study glass making. I love working with glass. My biggest hurdle is to find the most suitable process in which to translate my work (kiln firing, cold work, enamels, etc).
Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?
I have been working with a variety of materials, i.e. glass, acetate, canvas but I don't necessarily consider myself to be that experimental with the materials themselves. It's all about trying to find the best medium to express an idea.
From the "Window Series", 36" x 36", oil on canvas
What does the future hold for this work?
The future is wide open! I am amazed that I am painting on canvas again, I had sort of written that off -- and I'm loving it. I also feel working with the Duralar has played a very important role in allowing me to push my boundaries so I definitely want to keep working with that series. And what can I say about glass, it's like a whole new world opening up.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I am sincerely glad that you've invited me to be part of this. Your blog has introduced me to so much new work, thank you.