Thursday, February 5, 2009

Good Question

GOOD QUESTION: If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you’ve arrived?
This question well describes the difficulty in producing a good abstract painting. I credit the book “Beans” with this question, where it’s posed in the context of defining personal success.

For me, producing an abstract painting is like wandering without a map through a wilderness landscape. I don’t need signs posting “SCENIC VIEW,” to know I’ve arrived at a significant destination, the view itself stops me short. It could be an all embracing panorama, or an intimate vignette, but either way, it’s a point at which the painting, the view, commands my attention and causes my mind to set a mental marker.

As I wander along trails without a map or paint without the guiding intent of producing a realistic rendering, the territory I travel through eventually becomes familiar and context develops. Eventually there is enough understanding that relative beauty can be recognized.

In this painting, what’s on my mind are the colors of Arizona mountains in January, the prickly quality of cholla and other desert dwellers, and the noncommittal enmity of borders.

This painting is 3' x 4', acrylic on stretched cotton duck canvas.

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