These pages are from trip journals. Begun as a way to process and archive ephemera collected while traveling, they developed into a response to the blizzard of visual data many of us encounter daily. As I traveled, I found myself collecting more and more paper. Pamphlets, tabloids, tourist guides, posters, tickets. Credit card slips, cigarette wrappers, food wrappers, toilet paper wrappers. Text in unfamiliar languages, symbols both familiar and not, messages only machines can decipher. Over time, the journals became less overtly diaristic and more abstract. Subsequently, they began to inspire larger scale works.
These are four recent paintings that I’ve created on my 12” iPad Pro using the Procreate app, an Apple Pencil, my fingers, and other software (Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator). Using those tools has been my primary artistic practice for several years. I do that for many hours each day, creating a new artwork every day or two (more than 200 in 2018, so far).
Some works are little more than sketches, and all begin that way, as a mark or two on the iPad that I then develop in whatever ways they suggest. Many of my works evolve far beyond that first mark or two, and take me days or longer to complete. The result is a personal visual journal, a record of my ongoing artistic journey, a product of my imagination and whatever skills I bring to expressing it.
I print some pieces that I exhibit in juried shows and open studio events, post many of them on Instagram, and all of them on my website. I send out a now-and-then newsletter to friends and subscribers.
I always carry a sketchbook, pencil, etc. Drawing is the meat of my work, the protein, the substance. The drawings occur randomly, but there is a consistent thread of “figure” content. I draw my family, my pets, trees, women standing with their children at the lake, children playing, travelers waiting in airports, train stations, library visitors who linger, trees, leaves, seeds.
In the summer, when ventilation is accessible, I paint with hot wax encaustics. I use drawings from my sketchbooks and make trace-prints on fragile rice papers that pick up lots of useful irregularities.
The third is of my grand-daughter on her 5th birthday. She is sensitive and vulnerable, or a firestorm. Her choice.
Two of the sketchbook drawings included here were dancers from rehearsals for “The Twenty-Dance,” that was created as a response to my series, “The Twenty—an Elegy to the Children of Newtown, CT,” last November, 2017 at the Portland Ballet.
The fourth is from a video of deportees that I saw on television.
These images came together with others in the spring and summer of 2018, when we all watched the children separated from their parents and put in cages with metallic blankets for comfort.
I keep sketchbooks but tend to rip out their pages when they have something to do with my painting. I hang them up around the studio. Once in a while, a sketch will serve as a beginning to a painting. Other times, sketches help me change direction in a painting so I can move forward. Sometimes, I sketch during the process of painting to record what is there temporarily, just before I cover it up, as a record which might direct me later. I also make sketches to loosen up, not as a means to an end but as an end in itself. Sometimes the sketches have color, sometimes they are stark black and white. I might use pencil or charcoal or crayon or ink and watercolor with brushes.