This painting – like many of us on a personal and collective level – has been in a state of transformation over the last several years. It began with a limited palette of latex house paint, which laid down a lot of the initial texture and made for an interesting surface on which to work. Over several sessions and years, I added acrylic paint, more color, and changed the composition fairly dramatically. This painting seemed “finished” several times, was re-seen in potential, and ultimately became a springboard for something new. As a metaphor, this feels right.
I like the relatively abstract quality of the current version of this painting, the sense that it may still be in the process of revealing itself (becoming), much like a partially developed photograph. I’m noticing the burst of light near the top of the canvas, more striking in the actual painting which shows more extremes of light and dark than this photograph of the painting does. May this bring you a sense of hope, as it does me.
There is a story about this painting, but I’m not quite ready to tell it. Or maybe I just don’t know how to tell it well, so I’ll let the image stand as it is. I’m also aware that the story about this painting is unfinished, perhaps the reason it can’t yet be shared. Which got me thinking about our stories more generally. When and with whom we choose to tell them. And how we manage the ending…
I’ve toyed with the idea of increasing the color saturation in parts of this painting, particularly in the middle section. I may ultimately do that, if for no other reason than to push the growth-edge of my technical painting development. On the other hand, separate from my visual preferences for contrast and color, this painting – exactly as it is now – captures something about my experience. Maybe yours too? For me, the colorful, muted light of sunrise reflects both the joy of possibility (hope) and the tentative pause (fear) that often coexists as we begin a new day.
I started this painting on the afternoon of January 6th, while unbeknownst to me violence was unfolding in the U.S. Capitol. I “finished” it the next morning, moving it out of a much uglier stage. Although I’m not sure I’ve moved it far enough out of “ugliness,” I also know it’s good to sit with it all, that the truth of a moment doesn’t always appear beautiful in the ways we’ve known. And also, that ugliness and beauty are mostly ideas and relative to their context. Art is not always visually appealing; movement doesn’t always feel good. My paintings don’t usually name themselves when they aren’t finished, but this one did, so maybe it is.