I had to use the full length of my wall space. BreakingThrough is roughly 9 feet long and BlueWave is over 10 feet.
My Chronicle as an Artist
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
My first paintings were small—often not more than 14" wide. I was working in a variety of mediums with prints, drawings, and paintings, so I chose a smaller format as a constant — it was a practical way to create a larger body of work.
When I started to paint exclusively, I moved upstairs to the painting department and had my own 12 foot square studio space. One of my mentors said "why don’t you scale these up in size — you might not get another chance to paint this large for a long time…"
For the remainder of my time at the Institute, I did just that. The tools of my trade were large brushes, lots of oil paints, and a step stool to stand on. I built my own stretchers in the wood shop. I stretched, primed, & gessoed my own canvas. I learned so much from my colleagues and reading Ralph Mayer’s The Artist’s Handbook (the bible). I also had to work totally differently— I could no longer sit but had to stand and walk back & forth just to see. And as my working method changed, my imagery evolved.
These, BeverlyRevisited ( 4’ x 6’), and Firefly ( 90" square) were a couple of my first smaller, large canvases.
I knew I wanted to create a body of work which was essentially about landscape. The pieces here are from a series called "The Lake is Not the Ocean". As I worked, I imagined flying over all the places I had loved and tracked my movement with a vocabulary of marks--wavy & straight lines, verticals & horizontals, dots & dashes. I used a paintbrush like a pencil, and the works were small & intricate. Chicago & Virginia melded together into unique places. Looking back on these & other works like them from this time period, I realize that my technical approach was not unlike the sewing & needlework projects of my teen years.
The immense and vibrant city of Chicago and the close-knit, secluded life of art school were the two poles of my world for the next 7 years. Each had an immeasurable influence on my work. My map drawings, like those shown in the previous post, developed from colored pencil & conte materials into oil paintings. I thought of these as internal travel logs and I developed a personal vocabulary of mark making which became a legend for all the landscape maps I was to create for the next body of work. The natural landscape that I left behind on the East coast combined with the architectural footprints of my new city life.