Monday, May 7, 2007

Time capsule

In keeping with the season, I've been doing some spring cleaning in my studio. The usual neatening, vacuuming, and organizing, that seems to come naturally at this time of year.

Yesterday I dug up, from a stack of old paintings, the one pictured above, "Arbor," an old favorite of mine that was made way back in 1998, almost 10 years ago. It's about 40" high by 45" wide, made of acrylic, oil stick and fabric collaged on stretched canvas.

Amazing how finding an old piece like that is like running in to an old friend! Seeing that image, that I worked so hard on for so long, reminds me of where my head was at when I made it. I was in such a different place from where I am now. There were so many people I hadn't met yet, so many experiences I hadn't had yet, so much I didn't realize about myself and about the world.

For the artist, it's revealing and instructive to periodically look back at old pieces and figure out what threads of vision and ideas have continued through to your work today. Among the colors and shapes I was using in 1998, I see glimmers of my recent work in the calligraphic oil-stick lines I drew in this painting. Now I remember -- I had just discovered R&F pigment sticks and had just plunged in to a mad love affair with them! (It took a while for my Visa balance to recover from the relationship.)

So in addition to all its other benefits, I realize that art can serve the maker like a diary, recording a moment in time with perfect clarity and making the present easier to comprehend.

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