CPS Studios-Summer 2010

MN Women's Press-Oct 09



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Working in gray...

Why Does It Hurt So Bad,  30x30, acrylic on canvas

 One of the things I've learned over time about my painting habits is that my color palette changes with the seasons--at least the dominant colors that I work with. As the fall turns into winter, I start using more gray. It's been that way for three years now.

It's sort of an instinctual that I initially resisted, because I generally work with a lot of bold colors. But I've learned to trust my instincts and I feel that as a result my work has become much richer. 

But why gray? When I look out my studio windows, during the all-too-frequent cloudy days we endure here during a typical Minnesota winter, I see gray cloudy skies. So it is in part a reflection of the natural world that surrounds me. (Sometimes I wonder if I lived elsewhere, would my color palette change. I think it absolutely would. When I visited Santa Fe in December I couldn't help but notice the beautiful blue skies so different from our Minnesota skies...and knew that if I lived there, there wouldn't be so much gray in my work).

Winter and its gray cloudy skies feel dreary (to me). I much prefer sun. But winter also seems like a natural time to hibernate a bit and struggle with life's darker side. And that has been part of my work in gray--giving creative voice to that inner struggle with some of life's darker issues. Sometimes I think by painting in gray I am trying to find the beauty and grace in not just the color, but the struggle. 

As I wrote earlier, I have been returning to this gray palette for three winters now. There are several different "series" within my gray abstractions work (check out my Portfolio). As I start to work more intentionally on building a body of work for exhibition, I am looking at current and earlier work...deciding which series to expand and build on. I'm also trying to "think" more about what this work "means" and how to "talk" about that with an audience. 

I hope to share some of my thoughts here and will gratefully welcome feedback.

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