The funny thing about this blog, and probably most blogs, is that I don't get many comments on it. If I were going solely by that fact I would think that no one is visiting and reading, or looking at my work. However, I actually get a lot of comments via other sites and in person. In fact, it was one of those real life comments that led to this post. A former student of mine approached me in the halls of the college I teach at last night and asked about my older work. They had noticed that all the work on this site is from the last two years. It started an interesting conversation about artists and the way they work over their lifetimes.
We talked about how some artists find a concept or style and dig deep for their entire life, whereas others will work in multiple different styles simultaneously and still others drastically change styles at seemingly random points in their careers. And then there are those, like me, who cycle through styles off and on, sometimes working multiple styles at once and sometimes digging deep on a solo topic or style for an extended period of time.
I told the student that prior to the last few years I had been going through an extended period of working in the abstract. I basically spent almost a decade exploring process, materials and seeing just how far I could push form, color and texture to express a concept or feeling. The processes I had developed, and the content I was interesting in pursuing, took time to research and carry out. I was lucky to complete one piece per year. When I finished the piece above (Winter) I was drained and felt trapped by my own process. I spent a great deal of time trying and failing to figure out how to proceed and where to go next. My sketchbooks of the time were at first filled with some of the worst work I've ever done and then eventually I just stopped doing anything.
It took a trip to the Delaware Art Museum, months later, and a visit some of my childhood favorites by Howard Pyle to reinvigorate me and give me direction, but it really took my wife to get me working again. After probably the thousandth time listening to me complain about not having time to do any art she finally said, "Well, you just spent five minutes complaining when you could have been drawing. Why does every piece you do have to take so long and why do they all have to be so large and polished? Why don't you do something with the time you have instead of bitching to me?" The next day I made my first drawing in almost a year, on the back of a business card, during my lunch break.
That's where the body of work that makes up this website began. A chance visit that reawakened an old passion and an exasperated woman to put me back in my place.