It's difficult to describe abstract art. Is it like jazz? Do musicians experience the same exquisite state of focused attention that I feel when I paint? An improvised composition works when one note seems to respond intuitively to the one before it and the musician seems fearless as she trusts her own history, her knowledge, her experience--and she creates beauty. We listen to it--and absorb it.
In the time of Covid, California burned and the sun could not be depended upon to come out. Fear, anxiety, and worry over whether we will ever have a socially just society was rampant and so I quarantined in my studio. Working "in social isolation" my work turned darker as I searched for vessels large enough to contain it all, while still looking for the light. My work became more layered, more textured, and more reflective (literally, with metallic paint, and metaphorically, as it mirrors my inner and outer worlds). I found myself painting abstractions that included houses, doors, containers, and escape boats.
I have referred to this body of work as "The Silver Linings." I see the silver that dominates these paintings as a metaphor for a mirror’s (silver-backed) reflection, and think, in a way, that they are a kind of self-portrait. Reflecting my state of mind as I paint and my own internal reflections, the paintings become projections of that state onto the viewer and the viewer’s projection back. Some of the pieces change when looked at from different angles just as no one moment or angle of perspective fully represents an experience.
I first began using silver during a particular personally reflective time, as I began to recognize the gifts--and silver linings--of experience. Now I use silver paint because I think it's gorgeous.
Encaustic and Oil on Paper
These pieces began with graphite rubbings from highly textured surfaces of some of my earlier paintings (that themselves had been built up with acrylic mediums or reworked from even older paintings). The graphite rubbings on paper were then covered, or partially and roughly covered, with encaustic medium. The wax was fused with heat, and then I worked over them with oil stick and oil paint. To me they are literal examples of the concept that every new piece of art is both brand new, at the same time as it is a direct product of, and is built upon, the past and all that has come before it.