What works for me? Here's an audio 'look' at my process
I have Thelonious Monk cooking on the sound system, a pot of black coffee, all the flood lights are on, paint is squeezed out on pallettes, and brushes are at the ready. The blank canvas before me beckons for a mark. This is how a painting begins in my studio. I have a gallery show next May, for which I have been creating a new body of work. When I am in this mode I can work late into the night, finally hitting the sack around 3:00am—but only after some reading to calm my mind. I will later dream in color.
I love preparing for exhibitions. Making notes, studying color balance, drawing ideas from nature, and taking risks with large quantities of paint and canvas keep my brain fully occupied. I speak to my artist friends more often during these times, running ideas by them. These conversations help fuel me.
I wrestle with some of the paintings, butting putid colors against hot or cold colors in my search for the right “feel” and edge. I make quick sketches during the course of a painting to test ideas which come to me in flashes. I’ll use a hundred brushes working on a large painting, never cleaning one until the end of the week.
Sometimes long periods are spent sitting and staring at the work in search of what I cannot stand. Sometimes I hate it all and scrape it all off, only to begin again
I’ve been following this road for 45 years. It works for me. I do feel like each year I get deeper into each painting and take more risks.
When you’re 63 you paint like a mad man and hope for tomorrow.
This commentary originally aired on August 5, 2022.