Until very recently, it had been years since I'd done very many paintings on a horizontal format. There were a few in 2010, but these failed to open up a strong direction and I soon felt I had exhausted the impulse. Vertical paintings have been my preference for many years, and have been associated in my mind with my move away from landscape (traditionally associated with a horizontal format) and into abstraction. I pushed the vertical idea in an ongoing series of Column
paintings (later called Verticals
, see image below) --these series included dozens of paintings in all. A square format has been another ongoing favorite, interesting for its tendency to pull the eye inward to the center and at the same time to push it outward along the appealing evenly spaced edges.
In retrospect it seems a little strange that I have so neglected the horizontal, but it's back. A few weeks ago, at the request of one of my galleries, I created several horizontal paintings (one of them, Spritus
, 30"x56", oil and mixed media on panel, is shown at the top of this post.) I approached the idea without huge enthusiasm but figured, why not give it a try--and decided to start by working over a couple of vertical, multipanel pieces that I had not quite resolved. As soon as I started in, though, I felt excited about the possibilities. The second horizontal painting that I did, Ramble
, is shown below (also 30"x54".)
It's always hard for me to analyze the appeal of a direction when I'm in the midst of it--I just know it is something to follow. But with these paintings I sense that I've come far enough along my abstract journey to relax about the landscape implications of a horizontal format. They feel expansive to me, wide open. The painting shown at the top of my previous post, Solas
, is the third so far, and I have several more in progress in the studio.