I have rarely encountered a more receptive group of viewers than those at the Futon Company reception, last Thurs. night. I grow every time I explain how and why I paint as I do and they were so interested. My awareness of myself as a painter also grows with each contact with another artist practicing a different art form. In earlier entries and comments to this blog I, and those commenting, have drawn parallels between painting and writing. Now I need to add an insight I have had about my painting and music.
I am a gestural painter. When I paint in watercolor my strokes and decisions are rapid and fluid. I have often thought that my rapid painting strokes were in some kind of musical rhythm. At Thursday‘s reception there was a musician with whom I shared my idea. He commented that my movements might be like those of a conductor.
But a conductor is not the right comparison because a conductor is leading others to produce a work he knows inside and out while I begin unaware of the middle and the ending. I believe my rapid response to the subject in front of me is much more similar to a jazz musician improvising with an instrument on which he is very skilled.
My “kitchen” subjects inspire me to use my paints and brushes to create a response. I have no plan when I begin. I make no preliminary drawing, no lightly sketched lines on my paper. I just apply water and pigment and work from the shapes before me and the shapes forming on my paper. Thirty minutes of intense concentration and constant movement and the painting is accomplished. It may bear little resemblance to the actual subject before me; I have chosen what to include and where to place the shapes. I have improvised.