I stopped blog writing during Covid. The next blog down from this one plunges you right back into Dante’s underworld, so watch your step— the fall is a long one. The pandemic, combined with the rise of authoritarian regimes at home and abroad, pretty much gutted me. How to paint out of that?
But I did, though the paintings had a new tone. Artists are, for the most part, relentlessly critical of our work. It comes out of us, everyone sees it and judges it in some way or another, and thus it is very fraught to create, which is why most people don’t do it. For this recent open studio, I decided to turn criticism aside and simply like my own work, give the paintings something from myself that was not finding errors or ways of improvement.
This painting has an obscuring grey mist or fog, but bits of gold peek through, and rose is trying to emerge in some places. There is a feeling of falling down and rising up simultaneously— a cycle of life— and the green has a fresh feeling, though in a field of ash. It’s always a bit dangerous to “read” abstraction, because everyone has to come to their own terms with it. But a true painting can speak volumes, and I decided to let my own work speak to me with a new voice. As an abstract artist, “zombie formalism” can be tempting… the splash of paint, the pleasant color— but devoid of personal meaning to the artist, thus the zombie part… neither alive nor dead. And zombie paintings can’t speak.
I struggle sometimes to find inspiration in my own work and life. Look around, I say to myself. Eat a fig from your tree that the raccoons didn’t. Let your own creations give you a little love back. It feels good.