thoughts on imagery
An e-pen pal, Nancy Green
, has started a new blog that's off to a very good start, with--among other topics--ruminations about moving away from representational landscape images into abstraction. In most recent post, she links to some earlier blog posts of mine about the topic, which made me realize how back and forth I have been over the years in my inclusion of identifiable imagery.
For the past few years, my work has been mostly color fields with subtle variations. Now I find things once again moving toward bolder activation of the surface, which sometimes includes recognizable imagery. For example, lately I've been playing a lot with lines--made with brushes, paint sticks, scratching sticks and solvents. Making lines seems to trigger an impulse to draw "things." These tend to be botanical in flavor--grasses, twigs, flowers--with some geometric references to buildings, stairs, and ladders. Sometimes, though I just "scribble," and make gestural lines that resemble handwriting, plus some simple shapes and curves.
When imagery does appear, I would say it grows out of the painting process in the same way that other elements do, like color and texture, or non-representational lines. In each case, I try to find what the painting needs as it evolves, rather than beginning with a plan to include (or avoid) an image.
Right now in my studio are quite a few paintings with (for me) bold lines, some of which are suggestive of imagery such as trees and other plants. I've been enjoying painting them, but I'm not sure if they are what I want...questions present themselves about the amount of attention that the eye and mind give to identifiable objects.
The painting above is actually from a few months ago, and more subtle than the very latest paintings. (The ones I'm not showing. Yet.) This one is Winter Garden