When I Was A Baby 2012 Oil, Graphite on Canvas 60”x48”
Recently, I didn’t feel like painting one day so I did a couple of little drawings instead. I had never really done drawings in the busy abstract painting studio space where I paint at the Art Students League before. Anyway, I kind of got it in my mind that I was going to start at the beginning - my beginning - to try to paint more of my story. I did a little sketch of what I think of as one of my earliest experiences that I called, “When I Was A Baby.” It is hard to describe in words how powerful the experience behind that drawing was to me. Without beingoverly melodramatic or hopefully never self-pitying, it was a defining moment of who I am.
The next day when I went in, I got out a canvas that I have been working on where the consensus seemed to be that it was not finished (Moose Bay), and I tried to get a feel for going further with it. That wasn’t working. It seemed finished to me, no matter what other people may have thought. So I put that canvas up in the rack and pulled out a large (60”x48”) blank canvas.
Okay, I thought, now's the time! I’m going to translate the experience from my little pencil sketch (8”x6”) to the big canvas. i'm just going to have to reconnect with the experience if I'm hoping to capture the power, the in-your-face impact.
Anyway, I got to where I needed to be and am very pleased with the outcome. I worked so aggressively on the canvas than when I finished, it seemed a bit loose on the stretcher - stretched from the impact of my strokes! When I finished I felt such relief. I knew that no matter what anyone said, it is one of my most personally meaningful paintings.
Not long after, a young painter who paints near me told me she thinks my painting is “really bitchin!” Hahaha!! I love that.
Anyway, when the person who fills in for our advisor Larry Poons came in, I wasn’t going to show her because she seems to have anaversion to anything remotely representational. But I did. Sure enough, she zeroed in on one little section and made some comment about that little area. But doing this painting was like a happening – I can’t go back and change some small bit afterwards – even if I wanted to. It’s so strange. I guess she just didn’t get it. It doesn’t matter if some spot is not perfect.
It needs to be the way it is because it expresses - when I was a baby.
Sketch for when I was a baby 2012 Graphite on Paper 8”x6”
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