random thoughts

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves. -Jung

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random thoughts installed; may 2005, david findlay gallery, "through the looking glass"


These paintings feel to me a bit like a visual version of magnetic poetry. While each stands on its own, I think they also inspire one to put them together in different combinations, to explore visual connections, to create little poems that might range from the ridiculous to the sublime. For me they are very comfortable to make; they are easily held in one hand, the overall dimensions are extremely pleasing and they lend themselves to a spontaneous approach. Painting them, I feel very free to try new approaches, to go over them completely, to make them ugly, to be as silly as I want. When I get bored with one, I start another and it is a lot of fun.

It was after making a number of these that I realized how great it would be to transform the energy involved with painting these to my larger canvases. In my opinion, my best work has always resulted from having reached a certain "state of mind" in the studio. It is a place of total despair and while in it I simply don't care about anything; I feel I am at the edge of life, nothing matters and so I have no fear of the consequence of my actions. In this place I usually make huge sweeping changes to my canvases, driven from a very primal need to actualize the anguish that I feel and the reality is, this tends to be produce my most interesting and truest work.

So, while I spend a great deal of energy trying to understand the genesis of my demons, I have always been wary of throwing the baby out with the bath water; I have never wanted to jeopardize my ability to access this sense of total disregard and lack of fear; a state of mind that I feel is directly linked to producing the results I want. What I never thought to consider is; that if there is a door to this place through the shadow side, there must be one from the light. Even if I that had dawned on me however, I am not sure I would have known how to go about finding it or if I would have believed that it could be available to me.

But this is exactly the place that my current exploration of process has lead me, through the concerted effort I have made to transfer the energy I see in my small work into the large. As I said above, the small work feels very direct to me and comes from a much freer place than the bigger canvases. My process these past months, has been to work quickly and freely on many, many small pieces, then, without quite acknowledging that I am doing it, sneak up to working on an intermediate size and just when I feel as if I can identify being in some sort of flow; jump to the larger work. It's almost as if I were learning to ride a bike and someone was surreptitiously taking off the training wheels one at a time.

This process seemed to be working. I began to recognize evidence of having captured this energy in the large paintings. And then, about 2 weeks before I needed to have everything completed for "through the looking glass" I realized that if I adhered in any way. to my habitual pattern of doing things, the last 5 paintings that I wanted to finish were easily 6 weeks away, the only hope I had for this work was to embrace this sense of abandon completely. And then I realized that what I was actually doing was coming to that same place of freedom; being able to take risks, having no concern for the outcome, through a different door; not through a door of grief and pain but through one of joy and play.