In the Studio #12

I had a good studio visit and lunch with my friend the wonderful artist Michelle Neifert early last week and aside from commiserating with each other regarding the dramas in our lives – particularly mine – and the pressures of having to be a creative and work a day job, we talked about how we settled on the materials we use to make art. Michelle and I are both mostly acrylic artists, though I cling hard to being perceived as a mixed media artist because of all the enamel and collage in my work. However for both of us it wasn’t always this way. As with many painters we began with oils. I can’t think of the last time I did an oil painting that wasn’t for a class room demonstration. I find the medium to be too slow and moody, though I can remember a day when my best friend from undergrad, Euclides Uribe, and I would make fun of acrylic paints. We reviled abstract art too, both of us wanting to follow in the foot steps of our art professor the ever stoical Robert Sweeney. How 15 years can change one’s perspective. Here’s Professor Sweeney  – I still can’t call him Robert to his face – at a retrospective of his work at my alma mater, Amherst College. Oh How I wanted to paint like him.

Aside from talking about how we both moved away from oils, mostly for practical reasons (poor artist have to consider their neighbors and roommates and terp fumes are awful), Michelle and I also talked about how we mostly paint flat. That transition happened for me by accident sometime in the mid 2000’s. I can’t really explain why, maybe I thought easel painting was pretentious or some such excuse. This new painting I’m working on Pilot #5, is forcing me to consider painting vertically, however, and the change has been really interesting to me. Its occurred to me that the weird closeness in many of my works comes from painting flat and so perspective is necessarily altered. I of course don’t mind that close tight space in my works. But its nice to take a step back in this latest work and see a deeeeep space for a change. Its like looking into eternity and its very restorative to me. It helps me to not feels so alone and insignificant because at least I can make this little escape for myself. Here as some process shots of Pilot #5, enjoy. Until next time…

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