I pursue abstract, real, and meaningful form, simultaneously. In order to arrive at a pure, expectant, materially solidified vision, I bring the work out of careful seeing, while resisting the temptation to determine and fix likeness or identifiability of subject matter. This is like an ever-so-clear revelation that is beyond one's understanding as it is forming and increasingly significant and widely usable once it has been born.
Although I am quite deliberate and strive to be as aware as I can be of what I am doing, in some ways I am neither aware of the work as it happens nor of what I will later discover I have done. It is as if the work is quite ahead of my apprehension of it. For instance in the last several years I have fretted that it is time I should take on some new and greater task in my work, something akin to the largeness and complexity of scale in John Milton's Paradise Lost, or Hieronymus Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights. What I have lately discovered is that already in the landscape work there is hugeness in the complexity and breadth of the view, and in the myriad abstractly meaningful calligraphic painted touches. Close-up and in digital macro-images of the works these touches are remarkably distinct and particular.
So, I take the most awake approach, keenly observant of subject and work, yet knowing the work runs considerably ahead of what I know and see of it, and expecting it will reveal itself to me more and more in the days, even years, after I have finished working on it.
Here is an image of View across the Mississippi from Lansing, Iowa 1111251635, 24”x48”; beneath that, a detail of an area less than one and a half inches high. The area is so small, I was unaware while making the painting of the hugeness (when viewed in a digital close-up) of the bumper. The two sharp red touches come from reaching for a single red marker light; I did not know that there were two hairs, not one, loaded with red at the end of the bamboo brush. The distance from the top of the red touches to the bottom of the bumper is 15 mm, about 25 thousandths of the height of the painting.