Artists take their cues from babies. When we are born the first things we can see are darks and lights. As our sight develops we begin to discern shapes and movement, and then finally we see color!
When I visit a fellow artist’s studio or a gallery I usually take a quick glance around. I make a sort of mental inventory of what the experience might be promising. I am almost always attracted to one or two pieces that “catch my eye.” No matter if the work is representational, expressionistic or abstract it always comes down to the masses of lights and darks, the shapes they make and the way my eye follows them through the painting. Then there are the glorious colors.
So religiously I start each painting with a value study. My sketchbooks are filled with black, gray and white thumbnails that might even pass for Rorschach inkblot tests. When the shapes have a “sameness” about them I rearrange them to create more interest. I love to go back through old sketchbooks and remember the place and the resulting painting. It is sort like connecting the dots, enjoying the thought process and the experience all over again.
Today I have been challenged to come up with twenty ideas for future blog posts. My sketchbook can tell at least 100 times that many stories. So I hope you stay tuned and follow me through my painting process and my travels. In future posts I will share more pages from my sketchbooks, the images and the thoughts of what goes into my paintings. You’ll see the places I explore and the inspiration I find. And you’ll probably hear a funny story or two along the way.