Note: READING THIS NEWSLETTER WILL REQUIRE WEARING A FACE COVERING
The theme of this newsletter is "I decided" because I decided to write more newsletters more often if that's okay with you. If not, you are welcome to unsubscribe. But if you're with me—I thank you from the bottom of my innards. I appreciate all the support I can get in these trying times. I truly am grateful.
Staying home is something I usually do anyway, but nowadays, it'd been putting life into perspective. I'm sure this is the case for us all. I, for one, have been wanting to make wiser decisions. And if anything, make decisive ones. So, at last, I'm back working in the studio. I wondered when things were going to snap-to for me. Over the last year or so, I'd been more or less tinkering, splitting my time between painting and writing, and not getting much traction in either direction. I think this teeter-tottering involuntarily severed how engaged I'd been with art previously. So I decided: now is the time.
As I mentioned before, I wanted to tie up loose ends and get around to completing unfinished paintings, like that watercolor that sat on my drafting table for god knows how long. Many months, I tell you. Many. I wanted it to have a kind of Diebenkorn vibe, and I don't know if I succeeded in that, but that's what I was going for. Finally, I decided to finish it, and here it is. I entitled it, Afternoon Pools. It's watercolor on Arches, 22.3 x 30 inches.
Bags, Bags, Bags, Yeah!
As the years have gone by, it seemed that paper grocery bags were a thing of the past. If you haven't bought your own reusable bags by now, you've probably been considered some kind of monster. But since the coronavirus hit, we can't use our own bags anymore—at least not here in the high desert. So, when asked, "paper or plastic?" I've been opting for paper because I decided to use them for my newest series of abstract paintings.
I alluded to using brown paper grocery bags in my last newsletter, but now I've decided to make the commitment. Consider this my official announcement. Make way—I'm on a roll. I've already cut up a dozen bags, ironed them, and sketched out more than fifteen compositions. Now, I'm sure your interest in this process is burning in your inquisitive mind, like a hot poker singing at your brain synapses. Well then, let me tell you all about it.
First, I scan the compositions out of my sketchbook and pull them into Photoshop…
That's where I play with the color palette, which sounds easy enough. However, this part surprisingly requires a lot of strategic planning. Color is everything, and I put a lot of thought into these things.
When I came to tackle the first piece in real life, I went through some rather hardy trial and error. The polymer I ordinarily use to stick my collage elements on my paintings didn't like the brown paper at all. It's very different than using it on canvas or panel.
I had to come up with new options and even make a new flat wall space in my garage so I can use spray mount and fixative. Can't do that sort of thing in the house.
Plus, now I'm using acrylic paint, which is not my usual go-to, so I am learning a new medium. The paint dries so fast! But that's okay with me because I kind of like that there's no room for overthinking everything. I have to let go, which frees up my hand. I have to say, I'm endlessly enjoying the process.
Abstract art might not be everyone's bag (<-- Ha! Get it, bag??), but I've always loved expressing myself in this way. I've made a long study of abstract art and post WWII work from as far back as I can remember. Paul Klee is probably my favorite and has always influenced me in one way or another, soothing my soul and capturing my inner child. And then there are the Modernists, who've elevated my intellect (that is, whatever I still had left to stimulate). This kind of art has got me to think more conceptually and venturous.
Needless to say, I'm feeling good about getting back to work in the studio with a clear direction because it's been a long time coming. Of course, I'm making a bit of a mess.
So, basically, all this is what I have decided.
I just want to thank you for taking this little walkabout with me. I'm still being pretty consistent with posting work on Instagram every day, so take a look, and don't forget to go to my website: esart.com, if you have the time. And remember, if you are interested in purchasing any artworks, I will take payments. We're nice like that around here.
I hope everyone is spending their time in seclusion in safety, increased quality time, and joy. We will all get through this together, apart.
Yours very truly,