CPS Studios-Summer 2010

MN Women's Press-Oct 09



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Entries in Abstractions in Gray (2)


Hit or Miss

Hit or Miss, 36x36


Thought I would post an image of my most recently finished canvas (at least I'm thinking it's finished).

It's a large canvas--36"x36".  That's a lot of surface to cover, but lately I've been finding the larger pieces easier to work on than the small. 

It belongs to the same series as the last one I posted.  Again, a primary palette of Payne's Gray, with Alizarin Crimson. I think it has a very atmospheric feeling to it.  I was trying to communicate a sense of foreboding, of possible turbulence within. I was thinking of those moments when it feels like life is about to blow up in your face.  Sometimes you ride out the storm without incident. Other times, it does feel like the grenade you've been holding has just detonated.

I'm interested in how in those moments you strive to find calm in the presence of terror. Have you ever been aware of those moments? Do you know what I mean?

I would love to hear your thoughts!


And here's a detailed image that gives you some idea of the texture in the piece:




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.