30+ years of paintings, talked about one painting at a time: what went into the paintings, what I was trying to say, what was happening at the time of my life that I made the paintings. The paintings themselves are narrative, and this adds a little more to the story that they tell.
Earlier this winter, while working in the studio, I suddenly found myself--brush in hand--doing a simple line drawing into wet paint with India Ink. I haven't drawn in years, and was surprised to find myself, in one motion, shaping and defining this figure. The panel I had in front of me was small, but, still, it was a real challenge for someone who has defined her images with either paint or paper for over 40 years. When I lifted my brush from the surface, I was surprised at what I had, but pleased.
I have been working with Photoshop quite intensely for some time now, trying to learn the ins and outs of this complicated and very deep computer program. One of the things I had learned to do in Photoshop was to create a smooth, continuous line to define the image I was trying to create, usually based in some way on the photograph that was underneath. I realized that this little line drawing was both a reaction against and at the same time, based on what I had been learning in Photoshop. The reaction against was my frustration at not being able to directly hold/touch/feel what I was doing with my hands, and having to stay so much in my head. But what I had learned to do in Photoshop was to make and follow a continuous, single line that defined the image. However in Photoshop I can erase and redraw that line with with total impunity, something I can't do with India ink and wet paint. It's both extremely exciting and at the same time very frustrating to work this way. For a person that likes to keep all her options open as long as possible, it should be an interesting ride. Stay tuned.
In the late 80's and then through the 90's. I made multiple panel pieces. David Hockney that got me started. I'd loved his composite photographs, and started taking my own. They never matched up the way I thought they should, but, in my bad photographer's way, they were quite wonderful in the way they didn't. I would start with someone's head and then work my way down, often turning the camera sideways to accommodate arms and legs, or tails and ears. With the building of my new studio, and the acquisition of large, 30" x 40" trays and a large sink, the sky was the limit. I made large, anywhere from 24" x 36" to 30" x 40", prints by projecting onto the wall, processing the images, putting them together and then painting over the photographs.
Mostly they didn't sell. They were hard to show, hard to make slides of to show people, and hard to frame. They were large and often they were complex in their configuration. They were expensive, and of course it didn't help that the subject matter was usually pretty tough. With titles like Man Crying with Red Hands, Bully, and Boy Ghost, one can only imagine how they didn't fly off the gallery walls. I did sell some, have destroyed quite a few others, but still have the bulk of what I did through those years.
I was recently asked to be in a show curated by Dan Estabrook http://danestabrook.com/ at the Penland Gallery http://penland.org/gallery/ called This is a Photograph. When Dan invited me to be in the show, he specifically asked to choose from one of these multiple panel pieces, and Young Man Sitting Down was one of his selections. He was so enthusiastic and excited about showing these pieces that it made me remember how excited I had been making them, and now, looking at them again, realizing just how wonderful they are.