I am exploring spatial relationships. I experiment with the relationship of foreground, middle-ground and background while maintaining an overall shallow space in the painting.
I use layers that have different characteristics, the first layer establishes a color field, often with varying hues to create texture. The next layer introduces shapes that interrupt the picture plane. In my early paintings this semester, these shapes were similar and spread throughout the space. My most recent painting has varied shapes in multiple sizes. I then obscured the shapes with thin wash of paint so they became part of the background. Creating multifaceted backgrounds is like adding vegetable to a stew, no one part stands out, yet as they blend together it becomes more interesting.
The next layer is larger marks made by scraping paint across the surface with a palette knife. These marks are more expressive, some thinly painted so the background is seen through them in places and others are quite thick. Occasionally I have used marble dust to give added texture to the paint in this layer. The spontaneous marks reflect my emotional response to the act of painting, containing both frustration with the struggle of learning and the visceral reaction to the sensuality spreading paint on canvas.
The final layer consists of line work. Thin painted lines make cracks across the surface. Thick lines swoop across the canvas as if a story is written across the painting with a black crayon. Like a garnish these lines embellish the painting, the last touch that completes the presentation.
I have stories in my head as I work, but I am not trying to force those stories on the viewer. I love ambiguity and the possibility of discovery that arises when I keep my personal narrative hidden. I have played with using colors that are in opposition to my original idea, because our political climate is so topsy-turvy that it can no longer be defined by what we consider normal. A pastel painting with fleshy colors is not as sunny as it appears. It is filled with my thoughts of the world falling apart around us. After all, the sun still shines, and most people are going about their daily business without a real sense of impending doom. Yet that doom lurks at the edges of my mind so I include interrupted lines and cracks and nonsensical hash marks that may be counting the hours until life crashes to a halt. The viewer is not expected to understand those ideas. Just as the background shapes are covered or obscured, my meaning is obscured by avoiding the traditional colors and forms used to impart heaviness.
The painting process has been frustrating and confusing, and I see that when I look at these pieces. They are baby steps in an unfamiliar place, or stumbling attempts to learn a new language. Each time I pick up my brush and lay down paint my steps become less uncertain as each attempt brings more clarity to the process.