It’s that time of the year when I get to take a deep breath and begin to look forward into the next year, trying to determine where my path will lead next. It’s never an easy time doing this, trying to see change of some sort in the work especially after so many years of being what I am and painting as I do. It always comes back to the same question: What do I want to see in my paintings?
That seems like a simple question. I think that any degree of success I may have achieved is due to my ability to do just that, to paint work that I want to see myself, work that excites me first. So I have been doing just that for most of my career, painting pictures that I want to see. But there is another layer to the question.
What am I am not seeing in my work that I would like to see?
That’s a harder question. How can you quantify that thing that you don’t know, might not even have imagined yet?
It might be a case of knowing it when you see it. I know that my first real breakthrough was like that. I was simply fumbling along , looking for something that nagged at the edge of my mind. I wasn’t sure what it would look like, had not a concrete idea of what it might be. It was just there in a gaseous form that I couldn’t quite grasp. But when the piece emerged in a tangible form– which is the painting at the top here, First View from 1994– I instantly knew what it was that I had stumbled on and that it was something that very important to me.
It might not look like much to the casual viewer now but in an instant I could see in this little painting everything I was sensing in that gaseous, intangible form that hovered at the edges of my mind. I could see a realization of all of the potential in it. Even now, after years of evolving from it, I can see how it connects to everything in my work, even those things I had could not yet see when I painted it.
And that’s where I find myself at the moment. There’s something out there ( or in there, I probably should say) that I want to see, might even need to see. But I don’t know what it is yet. But I will know it when I see it.
And, trust me, I do plan on seeing it.