My work has taken on a new direction lately: I've been drawn to experimenting with more limited palettes and drawing from religious iconography throughout art history, which has led me to some different processes (and a different way of using art in my own personal processing, too).
A lot of these new ideas and forms come from experimenting on little 5"x7" canvases. I'm unafraid to try weird things on the little guys, like pushing mirrors into my texture medium, dumping a bunch of resin on top of paper scraps, or burying bugs into the paint. This has been a big part of my painting process for about a decade--while I'm working on a larger piece on my easels, I'll set up eight small 5x7s on the desk behind me for experimentation purposes. When I get to a point on the large piece where it needs to sit for a minute or paint needs to dry, I'll take my palette and turn around. The remaining paint goes onto the experiments without much thought, mashing together colors, shapes, and oddities in a sort of instinctual practice.
Once I feel like a 5x7 is done, I'll hang it on the studio wall with tacks and take a good look at what I've done. Was it successful? What do I like about this that could go further? What can I refine? What should be less refined? Some ideas jump into the larger paintings, and a lot of ideas stay right where they are.
These three little experiments of texture, mirror, repetition, and form pulled into their own series, and influenced the making of the larger pieces Crowd and Conditional Assistance. Some of the elements--augmented halos, abstracted textural forms, mirrors--needed to be discovered here, in the little freedom world of a small, cheap canvas.
This idea of simultaneous, small experiments came while working on a collaborative project of 50 5x7 paintings and 50 poems. Using inexpensive and small canvas boards for the collaboration allowed for a wider, wilder process. There are bins of "unsuccessful" experiments in my studio right now. I keep adding to them, painting more and more, building up many layers of weirdness. Maybe one day they too will be tacked onto the wall and change my art practice.
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