Friday, March 26, 2010

Painting a Series: Cohesion & Contrast

As an artist, my bouts of creativity come in waves. Although I work almost every day, I have periods where I can do nothing other than paint. I will be in my studio from early morning until late at night. It drives my husband crazy. And it drives me crazy too.

I get an idea in my head which may evolve into a series of artwork, whether color field paintings or woven pieces. I have to follow that idea through to its conclusion. My current series came to be in just this manner.

I had been painting color field canvases for a number of years in which I would attach a field of woven newspaper and either continue painting on that canvas, or not. I wondered what my canvases would “look” like if I began a number of them in the exact same manner: affixing the woven field to the canvas before beginning. What would that subtle change do?

I purchased five large canvases and five smaller canvases. On the larger canvases, I affixed a 16 inch by 16 inch sharp edged square of woven newspaper. On the other five, I affixed a rectangle of ragged sided weaving. I placed them in the same place on each set of five. They sat there in my studio driving me crazy.

Great idea. Now what? I had no clue how to proceed. Procrastinating, I completed two commissions for clients in Los Angeles. I completed three other weavings inspired by those commissions. I made a shower screen out of tin can lids. Still, those canvases sat there, each with a rectangle or square of woven newspaper permanently fixed to its pristine white surface. Why was this so hard?

I realized that the woven field had to be the beginning point for the painting. Before, I took a puzzle or concept to the new, pure white canvas and much later chose the woven field for the painting. With this series, I had to let the woven field be the starting point for the painting. I studied the woven field and chose the palette based on the weaving. Not the other way around.

The first canvas was challenging as I developed the relationship between the woven field and color field. I began to enjoy that dialogue. The second canvas was easier as the woven field receded into the canvas with each subsequent layer of paint. The weaving was no longer the focal point of the canvas as in earlier paintings. My moods and musings played a larger part in the evolution of this series. The weather, light on lemon trees, wet lawns in morning light or dreary rainy days influenced these paintings. The woven field is barely discernable in some of the paintings.

Thirteen paintings later (yes, I purchased additional canvases) I’m enjoying the dialogue between the “fixed” field and the emerging painting. I don’t know where this series will end as I have not yet exhausted the possibilities, although other ideas for a series are encroaching as I paint. At some point they can no longer be ignored.

What I notice about this series is that each painting stands on its own yet works well with one another. Hung together in a grouping, they present a cohesive presence. Each is different and unique yet there is a relationship between them.

These paintings are available for purchase either singly as a statement for the home or as a series to provide a cohesive presence in a commercial setting. You may contact me via e-mail at or through my website at . You can also telephone my studio at 760.992.3157.

Thank you for listening and visiting my blog.


  1. I love your description of your process! It's wonderful to see how your works have evolved.

  2. Very nice. I really want to see these works in person! Are you near San Diego? Just started to follow you on Twitter and look forward to watching your updates and following your work.