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Kuwaiti Oil Fires

“Kuwaiti Oil Fires” 48″ x 20″ oil on stretched silk, 1991 was one of the last paintings I ever painted in oil. Soon after, I gave up oil painting in favor of acrylic.

I served on active duty in the United States Army. I deployed for Desert Shield. I participated in the ground war during Desert Storm. I will never forget the sight of the fires on the horizon, during the night, as we convoyed through a minefield during the start of the ground war, at the end of February, 1991. The terrible destruction, the ferocity of it, even at a distance – there’s no forgetting it. This painting hangs in my home, a part of my permanent collection, a reminder of what human beings make themselves capable of, and at what terrible cost it comes.

If we measure the worth of art by the weight of it’s meaning to the artist who creates it, this is one of my most precious works. It is certainly one that is heavy with the weight of its meaning to me, personally. I stretched the canvas for it myself, with the help of my partner-at-the-time. I used silk, in order to stretch it very tight, and for the exceedingly fine grain of the fabric. I prepared the canvas myself. I made use of unusual pigments, caput mortuum, asphaltic emulsion, and others now lost not only from the sales catalog, but also from my recollection. I painted it hoping, somehow, to communicate a moment, and an experience, to share the unshareable. It is a favorite piece with visitors to my home, and it struck me strangely, this morning, that I hadn’t written about it.

It’s very different than more recent work. It remains quite dear to me, and a painful reminder that there are no “do-overs” for some of the choices we make.

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Emotion and Reason

"Emotion and Reason"  24" x 36" acrylic on canvas w/ceramic details and glow 2012

“Emotion and Reason” 24″ x 36″ acrylic on canvas w/ceramic details and glow 2012

“Emotion and Reason” is a piece of work that straddles changes in style, palette, materials, and inspiration. It was painted at a point in my life when the chaos of getting through menopause was wreaking havoc in my relationships, personally and professionally, and much of my experience of attempting to create order and make sense of it was complicated by the emotional side of my experience. Through it all, I had the support of my partner, who exists more on the rational side of life than the overtly emotional, contrasting my own experience at that time which listed far toward the emotional side. This painting is inspired by our shared experience of life and love – and of emotion and reason. (It’s also not for sale, being in the private collection of my partner.)

Detail of "Emotion and Reason"

Detail of “Emotion and Reason”

This piece is also lovely when charged, and shot in dim light (or darkness).

"Emotion and Reason" glowing

“Emotion and Reason” glowing

Communion

"Communion" 24" x 36" acrylic on canvas w/ceramic details 2011

“Communion” 24″ x 36″ acrylic on canvas w/ceramic details 2011

“Communion” is a piece inspired by love and loving, and by both the effort and rewards in building lasting love between partners over time. Inspired specifically by my relationship with my partner Michael, it also speaks of a profound change in my own understanding of love and loving, intimacy, and what love demands of us as beings seeking fulfillment, value, and nurturing. A larger work at 24″ x 36″, it represents the way love looms large in the human experience, the emotion – as with the footprint of the canvas – being far more vast and encompassing that the enveloped figures seem to require to be visible. This piece is in my personal collection, and is not for sale.

Portrait of the Artist’s Tears

"Portrait of the Artist's Tears" 5" x 7" watercolor on paper 1986

“Portrait of the Artist’s Tears” 5″ x 7″ watercolor on paper 1986

One of my earliest abstractions, this small ‘self-portrait’ of the emotional climate of my life at the time remains a personal favorite, in my own collection. ¬†On a more trivial note, it is also the first piece I chose to upload to the new site, although I have no particular ‘reason why’. Fondness? Sentiment? Hard to say; I know I continue to value the simple lines, and powerful colors in this small piece.