I just finished my first large painting of 2017, “Dialogue with Modern Perception”. I have not finished a work like this in a while and I have a body of new large paintings getting close to completion. I have felt quite successful with the push and pull dynamic of working on both objective work and non-representational simultaneously. As I have worked on both my large paintings, I have also made my drawing series “Studies in Light Dynamics”. Art making is not a liner process it seems, the impulse and drive to create requires time to percolate, because of this, it is beneficial to work in two alternating modalities. Gerhard Richter seems to me to be a great example of this push and pull of two different ways of working. I feel like many artists get pushed into one mode of working, which makes sense. As an artist becomes successful in a certain style, they now have an audience seeking that from them. Working in both of these modes, I feel has strengthened my process and work.
I never get rid of old tooth brushes. To get the speckled texture on this piece I made a stencil with tracing paper and scrap paper. I traced out the area that I wanted to remove from the paper and cut it out with an xacto. I lined it up and blocked out the rest with scrap paper. Then I used a tooth brush that I dipped in ink and then pressed the bristles of the brush with my thumb to create a small splaying effect.
Give it a try and do it on a practice piece first.
Don’t use the tooth brush on your teeth ever again.
I was recently asked when I started painting the way I do. I had to give it a quick thought. I remember starting my exploration of non representational painting in the fall of 1998. It was my last semester at Metro State Collage in Denver before moving on to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I had been accepted to SAIC because of my drawing prowess at that time.
This was a pivotal moment in my young artistic start. I saw a poster at school for a show, and later a talk at Regis University. The image on the poster caught my eye; its use of composition and color really peaked my interest.
I went to that talk on September 17th 1998 and from that moment, how I made work at changed. Mr. Ikeda had many large works, and one very large painting that really stood out, or at least it seemed very large to me at that time, it was maybe 5′ x 10′. It was, if I can still remember it correctly, mostly done in shades of whites and had textures and lines that made the composition so complex but still easy to consume. I can’t remember the talk that he gave 19 years ago, I am sure it was very informative and riveting. But I still remember the work and knowing that someday I was going to make large non-representational work that spoke to me like Ikeda’s.