work in progress

More thoughts on process - May 2014

A few years ago I wrote an artist statement on process that said: "when painting I'm brought back to simplicities, back to my senses, and in a way, back to life." I called painting an "act of simplification...and devotion," a "trust fall of sorts... that dissolves the excess in my psyche and leaves me clearer in mind and heart." As I recently read through this, everything rang true and yet something substantial felt lost in the neatness and romance. Everything felt a little too certain. A little too well-manicured. Painting, like love and life, is also work – hard, uncertain, and surprising work.

At its truest, I believe, the process is messy, gritty, and beautiful. As much as it is profoundly revealing, inspiring, and delightful, it is also rife with miscues, distractions, frustration, quiet defeats, and outright failures. There is the mucking about of it. The grumbling effort of it. The discomfort of regularly extending beyond one’s safety zone into the unknown; of being ground down and humbled. Or the suffering when one resists inspiration’s invitation, and in so doing, loses the thread of what is vital and pulsing. These often aren't "pretty" moments to look in on. Personal demons and ego and triggers rise and shout from the hidden nooks and crannies. Fear and worry wiggle about in it all.....

Statement on process - 2013

When painting I'm brought back to simplicities, back to my senses, and in a way, back to life. To surrender scripted plans and just listen and look, not knowing what will come, is a trust-fall of sorts and an act of devotion. On the good days this practice dissolves the excess in my psyche and leaves me clearer in mind and heart. It’s something I believe can translate to others through a finished work.

In a time filled with so much that can leave us far from the subtle pulse of a day, acts of simplification – for me, painting – seem like time well spent....

​The making of Contemplating the Nei Jing, 72" x 72"

At 72" x 72", Contemplating the Nei Jing is my largest piece to date. It's huge for me -- and I have piles of used up paint tubes to prove it. The process began in late August and has slowly unfolded over the last two months, first with sketches and then recently with boatloads of paint. Each day at around 3:15 in the afternoon, the light sets our studio corner aglow and I paint feverishly for a couple hours until daylight wanes. I've been photographing progress at the end of each painting day – at this point I'm at over 20 afternoons and evenings -- and below you can follow the piece's development. It's nearing completion but isn't quite there. The last two photos in the slideshow/gallery below show me and the model (Klara, for those of you who know us personally) for a sense of perspective on how big the piece is.

July painting demo a success -- more to come in August and September!

The demonstration at Jack Leustig Imaging in Arroyo Seco went wonderfully. Saturday brought a bunch of onlookers and a few new collectors. I got about three-quarters of the way finished by 5pm and then returned on Sunday morning for another few hours of painting. A gallery of photos is below. We're already planning more demonstrations -- you can stay up to date by visiting this page or by subscribing to my newsletter (on the upper right corner of this page!).