I’m doing experimental mark making and painting. I start with automatic writing on each surface with drawing tools: conte, graphite, China marker, charcoal, oil pastel. Then I white or obliterate areas of the writing or painting. I follow ideas as they arise. From automatic writing I get ideas and phrases. An example: “History seeks to remember the mantra.”
I am fascinated with the process of making “sense” of random marks, images, words, and events. The creativity lies not so much in the painting process as in the slow excavation of meaning out of fields of chance.
As I worked on this series of 3 20″ x 20″ paper pieces, the word “Cherubim” appeared to me. Originally lions and bulls with wings, they “devolved” into Valentine Cherubs. Cherubim guard the Tree of Life. Cherubim guard The Big Chair, that is, God’s Throne: Chair-u-bim. It seems that floating forms, surreal automatism, and a bit of religious icon are melding in this series.
Experiments are risky. That’s why they call it “risk taking” and not “sure thing making.” Below you can see one in progress. I know they are done when a certain internal narrative about them crystallizes like rock candy in my mind. The point of “finishing” is in my psyche, not in the painting itself.
I think the real old-style Cherubim would be terrifying, more like wheels of UFO flame or hybrid winged lions, yet we know that sometimes monsters guard the gates we must enter as artists. I go forward with some trust in the process. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, friends.
If you’re in Northern California this Saturday, November 14, come to Winterblast, the best homemade holiday EVER. I’ll be there with the studio doors open… if I’m not dancing in the street.