September 2, 1997
Yesterday, Labor Day, "Pearl" and I went to the York River. Our purpose, other than having fun, was a modeling session for the painting series. We were able to get a canoe. She asked if I had much experience canoeing. Since we were wearing life-jackets and it was only a small grassy creek; I delayed my answer until later. (I didn't mention all my dangerous mishaps with water.) I didn't want my apprehension to influence her, because I desperately wanted to do a video interview in the canoe. The video is a wonderful visual record of the creek. "Pearl" talks and gives her opinion on many things, and the world floats by. The world swirls and twirls by as I have one oar in the water. Later, we spent several hours on the river's cliffs. I shot several resource photos.
Pearl: Transformation can become a long-term project and other short-term projects, smaller, exciting, fun, and entertaining series, can be created at the same time. (Short-term projects could be landscapes, life sessions with other models, animal paintings.)
CAUTION: Choosing problems that are relevant to Pearl: Transformation investigation as the part of the smaller series will keep the new series from being just a commercial exercise.
March 16, 1998
For the past several weeks I have gone from sublime painting --every stroke a pleasure and a carefully considered laying down in terms of color and direction, as well as a heightened sense of edge quality. -- to a frantic search for the image. In stead of a considered approach, I am now bogged down in a compulsive search, constantly revising everything. My thought is that if there is more than one solution then there must be an infinite number of solutions, therefore, the search for style and technique must have at its logical start a sense of direction. Working with acrylics until this phase passes. They allow me to completely rework and try again so much easier than oil or watercolors. My search is for a color restatement of the brush-tip pen drawings, revealing the light/dark pattern.
Earlier this year I had initial success with the acrylics, but it was a watercolor technique and now I am looking for a thick, buttery oil technique that will translate those drawings. I have acquired a deeper understanding of the mediums. Images are not a limited to the source material, and change to deeper subjects, i.e. a more serious attempt to compose and create mood and to "draw the forms in more unique detail." This is also accompanied with more demonstrations and reworking of students' work. I seem to have lost a certain fear of performance that had been hampering me over the last couple of years -- performance in terms of working in front of an audience. )
Yesterday's notes are appropriate to the Pearl/Transformations theme.
It is a subject about which I have already tried to write, but will try to express better this time. There are many opposite poles working in the creation of a painting and the dynamics of this is best revealed in a series of paintings (or possibly a cycle: multiple series). The spiraling in of tight, controlled application and the outward tracking of loose application, of image to icon, of subject to object, of value to color, of performance to expression; all are revealed through the struggle of the of the pictures in sequence. And the choices, why this image at this time and not another? Do we choose a certain image because of its logical sequence in the series, or for design, psychological, or random choice? It is appropriate to remember that while the cycles of the paintings are influenced by their own dynamics; they is also affected by the mood of the artist and the nature of the subject matter.
Still working with acrylics and trying to get a style that reflects a new sense of searching. This morning I started a small acrylic -- Pearl as peasant with hands folded. I started it using a quick line drawing and a raw sienna wash that emphasizes the shadow perspective (what is in front and what is in back). It looks so nice, loose and wonderful and no one will ever see it. Scrubbing it with new layers of paint in search of the light, the atmosphere, the fabrics, and more definition.