Ideas excite me, and as soon as I get excited, the adrenaline gets going and the next thing I know I’m borrowing energy from the ideas themselves.
Yesterday I wrote briefly about the Aboriginal art of Australia, work that really stirs me up in a lot of ways. As I was looking at the Aboriginal paintings while writing the blog, different ideas for my own work were running through my mind. There was a rhythm and a pattern that kept biting at me and by the time I got to my own painting I had a sense of what I was hoping to see, as far as forms. The color would evolve as the painting moved along through the process.
Using a 12″ by 36″ piece of masonite prepped with gesso and a layer of black paint, I began and moved quickly. Like late author Ray Bradbury said in the quote above, the idea was creating its own energy and I was feeding off it. At these times, the painting is absolutely effortless. As the painting is finally all blocked in, begin to see the final finished version come to form in my mind.
Layer after layer of color are applied quickly, each layer slightly altering the overall feeling of the piece and moving it by steps closer to what I am now seeing concretely in my mind. After a final pass through, I stop and feel satisfied. That’s what you are seeing at the top of the page. I am satisfied in the moment but am still spending time taking it.
Sometimes when I paint like this, the energy from the actual act of painting hangs with me for a while. I have learned that I need to give these pieces a little more time so that I can see them without the influence of the energy created in the process. Sometimes after a bit I might see that some colors need to be deepened or brightened in order to move the energy in the painting.
Looking at the piece now I can see the synthesis from the work I was looking at yesterday morning into the finished piece above. I took in the shapes, colors, rhythms, and patterns of that work and tried to translate it into my own visual voice without imitating or copying it in any way. It is more about appropriating the energy and rhythm of that work.
Now without the context of yesterday’s blog, you might look at this piece and simply see my work. But artists are, at their core, synthesizers that constantly take in information and imagery and sounds and movements then shape them into a unique form that fits the vision they have for the world. This is one very basic and direct example of that synthesization of influence.
So, gotta run– there’s some synthesizing to be done!