Sunday, March 7, 2010

Folding Chairs
16" x 22"
oil on canvas
This one was done in a one shot demo for a class of high school students a few years back - I just came upon it in the studio a couple of weeks ago and today it just seemed a good break from the winter posts of late. I've been thinking a lot about the processes involved with making paintings and choosing subjects and my teaching - I'm retiring very soon (after 32) years to paint full time and a lot of stuff is churning up in my head. I keep coming back to something I find I'm often saying to my A.P. Studio students when they question me about color schemes or composition or any other of a dozen things in their work - I turn their questions back on them by asking -"what are you in love with here? What is the star of the show? What simple wonder are you bringing back to show us?" Just as this painting is not about folding chairs but instead is about the light and shadow as it carves repeated similarities in shape and space and directional angles and creates a battle between foreground and background / negative and positive space - we can discover what all painting is really about - the experience of a visual exploration and the record it leaves for others to explore. I think more than subject, style, or effect - painting has to have its origin in what Avigdor Arhika called "the integrity of every mark" - what each work must be"about". That humble task of exploration without concern for product - discovering what I love about being alive and attempting to paint that joy- will be my concern as I move from daily teacher to a daily painter.