Marlin Spike, 2013, oil on linen, 24 x 18"
What are you working on in your studio right now?
I have been working on oil paintings painted on linen. Also some drawings on mylar that could be considered paintings as well. Just about to order some new stretchers to continue the ideas that I have been developing over the past few years.
Can you describe your working routine?
My normal schedule is to work at the computer for an hour or so then head to the studio, which is 15 minutes away. I work on painting or drawing for about 4 to 6 hours. I do this for 6 days a week on average. I consider myself one of the most fortunate people around.
Untitled (Borrego), 2013, gouache and flashe on mylar
Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?
My current studio is relatively new. I recently moved from a larger residence where I had a small (500 sq. ft.) studio space. I had a press for a few years and got back into printmaking but eventually got rid of the press and continued to paint. My new studio is in a warehouse space that serves as a garage for my landlord. He is gone while I am working so no one is around to interrupt my work schedule. It is a loft situation with no natural light. I have T-8 fluorescent lights on my painting wall and they work fine. I bring finished work to my home where I have a large viewing wall with LED spots and live with it for a month or so to decide if it is finished, needs more attention or needs to be scraped down. The studio space is adequate and relatively inexpensive.
Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.
I work very intuitively. Much of the work comes from dreams, remembrances, casual encounters and mining my history-which is long. I have worked in this personal abstract/figuration mode since grad school in the 70’s. I think of it as a kind of a poetic narrative that leaves more questions than answers as I stumble along my creative path.
I would say that drawing is the foundation of my practice. I am pretty straight forward in my approach to my work, just drawing and painting no other technology. I try and use the simplest tools to solve the most complex problems. I use Lucius Hudson in L.A. to make my strainers and stretch the linen over poly so the starting point is perfect. The surface always remains taught which is necessary since I rework the surface so much. I use charcoal to rough in the paintings content and use outlines in oil paint to set the composition. From this point on any thing can and does happen. Scraping, sanding and over painting are all part of the process to develop the final imagery. Sometimes I will use paint remover to go back to the raw linen.
What are you having the most trouble resolving?
Some times solutions to problems I set up for myself come easy but most of the time not. I think this is good for my development. I have destroyed many “finished” pieces and reworked them until I am ultimately satisfied with the result. The one thing I try to avoid is becoming formulaic in my approach to working in the studio. My career has probably suffered for this but that’s the way it is.
Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?
Yes, sometimes. But mostly I just use traditional materials and formats. As a printmaker I would know and use every technique available to develop an image. The one thing I learned from printmaking is that technique could sometimes carry a weak effort or trite content. That is why I went back to straight ahead painting again. Besides, making prints takes a lot of time and time is something that is valuable to me. I felt I had to stand or fall on my own unadulterated skills as an image maker and painter.
What does the future hold for this work?
Who knows? I have had some success recently when the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art purchased and exhibited some work. The gallery I had here in San Diego moved to L.A. but we have since parted ways. Having said that, I will just continue to work and see what happens. The internet has been a great out reach tool for me so we will see where it goes from here.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you Valerie for the opportunity to have this forum to connect with the broader world of artists and folks that might be interested in my work. I feel privileged to be a part of Studio Critical and the fine artists you have here.
Casino, 2012, oil on linen, 24 x 18"