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Week 30: Day - To - Day Painting Beneath the Surface

Maybe the desire to make something beautiful is the piece of God that is inside each of us. Mary Oliver

My work, painting, is not distinguishable from my spiritual journey, my hunger for stillness, and the desire to find the center. ​The technique of layering, the use of layers of colored oil paints, both transparent and opaque, is integral to all of my painting whether it be these small daily works or the larger paintings created over time. Through the act of painting, I explore memories of internalized experiences that occurred in time and at certain locations. Finished pieces always consist of strata of color and marks. When working on the larger pieces, once I slowly build layer upon layer I then scrape back to uncover earlier layers, like excavating through recent memories and experiences to uncover the earlier. This process produces a compression and expansion at the same time. Each of the paintings in today's post reveal hints of the undercurrents that exist beneath the surface. As you will see in these paintings I am posting today, I employ the same process of layering and scraping away to reveal the layers beneath the surface layer. A new perspective was attained as I developed this first painting over two days. The first image is of the piece as it existed at the end of the working session on 1/21. At that point I was unsure if it was complete. When I approached it the next day I decided to push it further. I decided to work back into this piece. I was thinking about lifting or parting veils, not just literal veils which limit one's sight, but also the mental preconceptions that we bring to our everyday experiences.

work in progress

In jazz, we don’t consciously borrow in the same way that other artists might. The beauty of improvisation is that it lets you do anything. I don’t know what I’m going to play — that’s where intuition, and art, comes in. Sonny Rollins

I both added and subtracted paint from the piece as I had left it the night before. I cut lines through the top layers, streaking through the paint, revealing the layers below. The resulting piece is much stronger and reflects a darker presence coexisting with the light.


You will notice that I also rotated the piece and continued to work on the "upside down " image. Below I have posted a detail.


Though we do not wholly believe it yet, the interior life is a real life, and the intangible dreams of people have a tangible effect on the world. James Baldwin

While working on this next piece, I once again slashed through the top layer of paint. Looking at the painting with the slashes I thought of wire or twine containing and restraining the activity represented by the colorful marks, A viewer commented that he saw birds on wires. That image was not what I planned, but once he said that I could not "un-see" those wires and birds.

When I go to the museum and I look at a piece of art, I’m transported. I don’t know how, or where, but I know that it’s not a part of the material world. It’s beyond modern culture’s political, technological soul. We’re not here to live forever. Humans and materialism die. But there’s no dying in art. Sonny Rollins

In this painting the circles were inscribed into the top layer of paint. This painting, more than any of the others here, reflects on dark, hidden emotions or memories. I believe this stands as an allegory of the "shadow self", those forces in our psyche, that we hide from, or deny. That denial causes us to project those aspects of our personality that we don't want to face, onto others. To bring inner peace, we should not aim to destroy this shadow self but recognize and integrate it into our self definition.

Art is... infinite, and without it, the world wouldn’t exist as it does. It represents the immaterial soul: intuition, that which we feel in our hearts. Art matters today more than ever because it outlives the contentious political veneer that is cast over everything. Sonny Rollins

In this last painting, marks cut and scraped away from the top layer expose lower layers of color. The effect is an appearance of motion and energy. This piece is also a good example of layering transparent colors on top of existing colors so you read both colors and blend them with your eye.​​ In all of these paintings the veneer is partially stripped away revealing interior life; intuition or perhaps secrets,


If you have enjoyed this post please let me know in the comments. If you think you know someone who would find some benefit, please forward this to them. If you are not on my mailing list you may easily join here. And if you have not done so, please click here to view additional work. Peace and all good to you!

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