“simply trying to make it work”
When I was in school, the painter Neysa Grassi gave me a copy of 10 Rules for Artists and Teachers by John Cage and Sister Corita Kent. It’s been on my studio wall ever since. Two points have always stayed with me. First, the important thing is the work….people who work find things. Secondly, the rules suggest you find a place you trust and then try trusting it for awhile. I put my trust in the program and components of a painting. The support and the paint, along with the maker, combine to create work that is a statement of partnership. Materials lead me through my painting. I like to see where they can take me. My painting also wants to be about how I take in the world around me: texture, color and surface. As the work progresses, it creates its own logic. What does the work want or need? What happens when you put two or three colors together? From the initial move, I don’t know how each work will evolve; the struggle is getting to the end.
When you declare yourself a painter, you enter into the history of the discipline. What does my work say about painting today? Paintings importance for me is that it is not of the digital noise we are all exposed to on a daily basis. I find it a healthy experience today to stare at a static, non-digital image. A painting is quiet. I hope people would be caught by color and then enter into the work to find texture and subtle marks. A painting wants to be looked at and good painting wants to be looked at for a long time.
So all these things, for me, are what make a painting. They all come together and how it turns out can be the best part. You never know and there’s a lot of doubt along the way. The important thing is to keep going. Again from Cage and Sister Corita, “it’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things” Those “things” are what make painting worth the while.