I’m using this space to intermittently post a few paintings and tell some stories in detail as “Painting Journals.” They are a journey into the space of the work and my own thoughts and process, and an authentic record.
This painting, Lost Continent, speaks to me of a pre-verbal time. I always remember in the Mary Poppins books that the babies could speak with animals and spirits before they themselves could speak, but lost the ability when they got older. This painting is about that wordlessness. It’s a part of the Terra Incognita (unknown lands) series. They’re larger paintings, each one three by four feet. I remember that my 5th grade teacher in Pismo Beach, Mrs. Churchward (?) was married to a man who may have written the Lost Continent of Mu books. I have always loved the idea of lost worlds, continents, islands, planets.
A stick-like heron or stork bird form appeared. In some cultures, these birds are the totems of alphabet or characters, perhaps because they mark the sky with black calligraphy of wings as they fly. Maybe we have to fish for words, spear them out of the sea of consciousness. There is a wariness to the landscape, a delicate stepping across a golden plain or plane. A kimono form appears, perhaps the robe of the scribe or scholar. I see tule reeds or papyrus growing in one corner, the raw material of papyrus, again for writing. I’d walk by these reeds, peppered with red-winged blackbirds, on the way down a dirt road to catch the bus each day.
The floats of pthalo blue dripping down from the top are an inversion of a water-world. I started these first, trying to see how much transparency I could achieve without the painting going green. I wanted to keep soft pastel colors, ambiguous shapes,and floral-feeling areas, step through the liminal area between watery ink spreading and the scholar’s inked characters.
This painting is currently on display in the Santa Rosa Symphony offices. Visit Monday-Friday between during working hours to see it.