A Long Walk with a Friend

A long walk - featuring Riding the Waves

Sometimes it takes a long walk with a friend on a cold, post-Christmas Day to talk out your thoughts and perhaps come to some conclusions about where you are going or where you might want to stop going.

I was trying to figure out why I have been at a bit of an impasse in terms of my art. What I mean is that for years I have gone from one subject or approach to the next as a grand evolution.

I did illustrations.
I did commercial work.
I did watercolors which were mostly landscapes and a few people.
I did my series on music, dance, coffee coffee shops on and on.
And I loved it.

But for the past few years I can’t really say that I have latched onto anything new or experimental or even a brand new subject matter. I would love to get political, but I cannot allow myself to do that. So anyway here I am walking on the Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg trying to analyze how I can continue to paint without being redundant.

I am working. I have some commissions. I find that I resort to the old way of doing things because I know that is why I have been hired in the first place. That is the unsatisfying part of it is for me or I think I would be able to express myself better. Now I am thinking it is not that I dislike the subjects I have painted, but it is that I believe I have to change my approach to those subjects.

I know I would love to be more abstract, more enthusiastic in my brush work. Painting with more instinct than deliberation. But for some reason I have not allowed myself to do that.

Here we are in hopefully the final few months of our self-imposed quarantines and avoiding the people and the groups we have formally enjoyed. Maybe now is the time to do exactly that. To finish up with our obligation. The question is how do I really do it.

The dancers and dancing might be a way to start. The unfortunate thing about them is that especially in formal dance, there are certain prescribed postures and forms. When a couple is doing a waltz, there are certain prescribed steps.

Maybe I need to stop thinking about rules; both in the subject matter and my approach to painting Maybe the mere act of losing edges, changing color away from reality. I don’t know.

If I do that who knows what kind of success I might have. And that is what I tell people; to keep pushing their envelopes.

Easy to say, hard to do.

The easy part is to wake up, do morning rituals, have coffee, check texts and emails. What is hard is to walk into the studio and to start to work.

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