I wrote this for the West End blog about a year ago. I was not ready to share it. I am now. Two of the pieces have just been chosen for the Southern Tier Biennial 2013 show coming up September in Olean, New York.
Gone to Seed
I titled this series of paintings Gone To Seed – In the Center. During the past 5 years, I have been going through the process of losing my mom. She is gone now; she died at the end of January. I miss her every day; and now, it is clear to me that this series emerged from my experience through this time in my life.
I am an art teacher. Every year, I teach my 7th grade students a unit on color and design. I begin by setting a context in which to learn. I stress that the process is more important than the product. I give them an art problem and objectives; and create an environment for problem solving and art making. I leave room for individual exploration. For every project, I encourage my students to get to know their subject well. I work through the same project myself, so that I can demonstrate this.
Initially, I had trouble choosing a subject. Then I found some lovely aging potatoes in my kitchen and I was drawn to their organic shapes, wrinkled skins, and knotty shoots. I was intrigued by the evidence of changing form and the process of aging. I drew them over and over again. I drew blind contour drawings. I was pleased with the pure line and the accurate rendering of the organic form. I decided to paint these small – beginning to shrivel up potatoes – all black. They were born – beautiful black potato silhouettes; and I was very pleased.
I abstracted the idea further. First the artwork was about the process of aging; then, I started to work more with the idea of life – from seed – the center – back to where the seed was nourished, compost, regeneration. I felt a sense of clarity from the organic forms. I was drawing them from the center outward.
First in tempera
Then in oil.
Painted and cut up.
These small pear drawings were rendered before the Gone To Seed Series. When these were rendered I was beginning to focus on the sense of center in these little works.
This series is not complete. I have more to explore. As I travel through this series, I am not questioning, I am allowing the work to emerge. I hesitate to edit too much. I am beginning to see that everything is changing form. Life is a process, I love the process. In my work I like to keep that process present.