Opus 688 versus Opus 2051: 35 years of experimentation with color

Opus 688, Tarppon Springs, 1980

Opus 688, Tarpon Springs, 1980

The paintings above and below are 35 years apart, and 1363 paintings apart, and a number of styles and ideas have popped up in between.

In 688 a reflection on nature is not exactly apparent in the expressionist seascape. Expressions with subject matter have never been a main these, but in spurts.  There is also a “I must have been 22-years-old” error in what my brain was trying to do.

The west coast of Florida has a reality often called a myth called “A Flash of Green” or the Green Flash that occurs for reasons no one has figured out, just as the sun dips out of view under the Gulf of Mexico. If I had been painterly at all during the time, the white background would not have been allowed to stand, but, at least I used a brush for parts of this: the sun, the red arc below it and the sand.  The typical technique of wet-on-wet is used for the ocean, while splats of green on a drier canvas make up the flash.

Jump to last month and Dolmen #9, Opus 2051, and you find a pure abstract banned after the large rock burial sites found in Korea, China, Japan and amazingly Ireland built approximately 3500-3000 years ago.  How these sprung up so far apart also remains a mystery.  The first in the Dolmen series was done before I ever saw one in person, before I ever knew they existed.  When this type of resonance happens I soar on because the series started by an act of pure emotion, and, though I am purposefully doing the new works in one shot (a background and then on motion of colors) they no longer look exactly like Dolmens.  The concept of “one shot” paintings was expounded upon dramatically at the Cedar Park Artist colony in 2005.

Sergei Andreevski (Macedonia) loved the one shot paintings I was flinging with coconuts, sand, glue and one color tossed onto wood.  He dubbed them One-Shot Paintings and the attempt to replicate and go beyond that month’s worth of creativity (23 artists from Argentina, Macedonia, Ireland, Italy, Russia, Korea, Germany, Poland and the USA painted in Highland Beach, Florida and Chapel Hill, North Carolina) was a breakthrough moment for many, including me.

Opus 2051, Dolmen #9, 2015, Joan's Garage

Opus 2051, Dolmen #9, 2015, Joan’s Garage

By moving to a more fluid style, I also distinguished the work by remaining grounded in an art mode that is antique at this point.  I prefer to have viewers make up their own story about my art, rather than to thrust one story at them via the type of pamphlets that often accompany “conceptual” art these days.  I get severely ticked off when an artist gives me her/his explanation of their work rather than letting me make up my own story.

Over the next few months I will be trying my hand at the very conceptual art I often feel has run its course.  Why I go after fields that are dead or near dead cannot be explained.  I painted in abstract ways, using Pollack’s techniques from 1968 to 1978 (age 10 to 20) before I ever heard of Jackson Pollack.  That was in part due to the great teachings of Paul Heiner and Leo Garel, both of whom encouraged me to paint my own way.  Neither mentioned Pollack until Leo showed a slide show of modern and contemporary art in the living room of the Inn located in Stockbridge Massachusetts in 1978.  Little moments like that have kept me painting all these years, while doing jobs ranging from dishwashing, to secretary, to various temp jobs, to Community College Professor, and for seven years a visiting professor and finally visiting assistant professor at Chonnam National University.  My teaching has been in creative writing and English as a Second Language, after a Master’s Degree in creative Writing form Hollins.

Lastly, here’s #6, from the first watercolors executed under Leo Garel’s kind nudgings.   Wet-on-wet of course.  This one is from 1977.

Opus #6, Stockbridge MA, 1977

Opus #6, Stockbridge MA, 1977