I love to paint over pieces that aren't working anymore. When I attended art school at Texas Tech University, there was a grad student who would carelessly let things go in her paintings. I was in awe of her ability to let go. She said she knew things would come back to her if they needed to. I wish I could remember her name.
This was a painting that worked for me for a long time - until it didn't. It didn't say enough but was merely a study. I painted it according to the photograph I took (sans people) and left it there to be a pretty good rendering. It needed more though.
In thinking about climate change and people who are seemingly unconcerned, I decided to create a large wave and complete the painting with the addition of my son, who was in the original photo. As I zoomed in on the image I saw the mother and son in the background. I loved the way they casually walked toward the wave, so I painted them instead.
Nowadays I'm in awe of how people live in the world. I can't decide if I'm angry that we keep on going about our lives as climate change worsens or if I appreciate how we live in the moment and enjoy the time we have while things are as they are. Probably a mix of both.
Last December we traveled to NYC for a week before the holidays. It was my first adventure there. One evening, we had plans to meet our friends at Ooviña before a show. A few of us arrived early and the restaurant wasn't open yet. It was freezing outside. We found a hair salon/coffee shop down the street and settled in to have a drink and watch the passersby.
This was a scene I photographed.
This photo intrigued me the way the reflections inside blended with the outside, and I love the dark shape of the man walking by. I took a painting of the ocean I had done last year and turned it upside down, then began an experiment.
As in En Route, I didn't want the cars in the scene. They date it and block the horizon line. But then I also didn't want the buildings. There was something so satisfying about letting the concrete mix with the sea/sky. It didn't feel resolved though, so I let it sit in the background for a few weeks while I worked on another more complicated canvas.
Last week it occurred to me that this horizon needed some fire. It's the second time in recent weeks I've set fire to an object in a painting. I can't tell you why except that it needed to happen. I had this glorious warm color and it ended up causing a burn.
There is a new thing happening in my work. The world is beset by ocean waves and fires and destruction, yet people walk on by or focus elsewhere. It's how I feel about the world right now.