Fountain of Youth, Shhh Tell Everyone!

Posted by on May 22, 2019 in Blog | No Comments

Fountain of Youth, Acrylic on Canvas, 2019, 60 x 72 inches, (Click on all images to enlarge)

Those moments of pure joy, of beauty, of awe, of poetry, of inspiration, of flow, of connection. In painting, in nature, in running, in life wherever you might find them. Seek those moments and hold them close to your heart. Dwell in the abundance of goodness and beauty in this world. Show up, work through challenges, be vulnerable, be brave. Breathe. Stay present. Find ways to let fears, struggles, stresses, wash away. Let go of what you can’t control. Be curious, be creative, be kind. Be authentic, be open, be honest. Have hope. Dream big. Do good. Be thankful. Learn from mistakes. Delight in the imperfections. Embrace the journey. Live fully. Truly see. Feel deeply. Love big.

When my painting started heading in a new direction a few years ago, I committed to writing a weekly blog post. After awhile, a monthly post made more sense. And as of late, it has been a few months between public musings. I write them for anyone who may be interested in reading, but mainly so I can try and articulate some of the things I’m thinking about. I almost didn’t write this post because at first I wasn’t sure what I really wanted to say.

Initially I thought I’d write a post about the physical process of painting since lately, I love to turn on some great music at a considerable volume and lose myself in the simple act of painting. Playing with different types of mark making, pattern, surface qualities, and thick and thin paint, using small and large brushes. Sometimes singing and dancing with joy until it inevitably comes crashing down at times in a mess of paint (Alexa, repeat). Or perhaps, I thought, I should write about my continued interest in both abstraction and representation. Combining my ideas of “showing” (i.e. representation) with “feeling” (i.e. abstraction) and discovering that when I can find the right balance for me in a piece it is like the mind and the heart are suddenly in unison.

Forest For The Trees, Acrylic on Canvas, 2019, 36 x 48 inches

Then I thought a post on using travel as inspiration might be appropriate especially since prior to making Fountain of Youth, I painted Secret Waterfall as a potential study since I didn’t want to start on a large piece right before a trip, and how central Australia directly inspired the red, orange and pinks seen in Sunset Falls and consequently the final large piece.

Secret Waterfall, Acrylic on Canvas, 2019, 16 x 20 inches

Sunset Falls, Acrylic on Canvas, 2019, 22 x 28 inches

But I decided that what I really wanted to try and verbalize at this point in time is, what is the core of what I am really trying to do? I think much of the wonder and mystery of painting is often not easy to articulate in words. Painting is it’s own unique language. If you speak with me in front of my work, I’ll likely elaborate on some formal elements such as pointing out color choices and mark making experiments within a piece and comment on composition. Or reveal specific ideas and inspirations behind various paintings, including ones that tend to be more narrative, or titles that hint at a narrative. Or talk about how my love of nature and travel and taking photographs inspires my painting. But the question I have been seeking the answer to is, what truly is the essence of this work and why do I do it?

Please now read the first paragraph of this post again. (yes, really!)

This is it. I think after several years, I’m finally getting a sense of what this current painting search is all about and why I love being an artist. I am trying to tap into these, seemingly intangible concepts to paint, while actually living out these ideas on the canvas through the process of making the work, as I simultaneously try to do my best to live my life outside the studio in the same manner. Hard to articulate, hard to figure out how to put into a painting, but this feels most true to what I am after. Perhaps if someone connects with one iota of any of this through viewing my work, I will be helping to add just a little more beauty to the world.

At fifty, I think I’ve found the secret Fountain of Youth. Ssh, tell everyone!