I am primarily a figurative, representational painter, not an abstract artist. On occasion, however, I have been inspired to express a vision through abstraction, though even then, I tend to describe that abstraction in realistic terms. I painted Airborne as a companion piece to Earthbound. While technically not a diptych, I planned for the two paintings to be hung together. Earthbound is a fairly straightforward abstract landscape, but Airborne took on a life of its own as I painted it. The same transparency that informs my jellyfish paintings seemed to work on the circles that had at first formed a somewhat static pattern but started to gain movement as layers upon layers were applied. Just as the jellyfish seem to move through the water, these bubbles started to rise from the canvas. I just went with it, for once not tied to a model or a photograph but simply inside my own head.
A fan recently commissioned me to paint Airborne again. As with many commissions, some changes had to be made—the canvas had to be 30” X 40” instead of 48” X 30,” which made the image vertical instead of horizontal; the colors included greens and whites, not aquas and beiges. Though I referenced Airborne while I painted, as I worked, the painting again seemed to take on a life of its own, giving me a sense of movement in space that made me think of calling it Cosmos.
While it has been said that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” it has never been more true than now, when almost everyone can take a photograph on a phone or tablet and show the world whatever it is that words fail to describe. A picture of a painting is another matter altogether (some are better than others, but none can really serve to replace the original), so I can only hope that these photos convey a sense of the depth, the diffusion and the movement in both Airborne and Cosmos.
Note: Btw, I called my last posting Deep Purple and a Little Blue, assuming that everyone would understand what that meant and thinking that it was a clever little title. Then I spoke to a few people considerably younger than I and realized I needed to explain it. First, the background in the painting is a deep purple; “blue” means x-rated, pornographic or sexual, as in blue movies, comedy routines, books or whatever, and was a more popular term in the days when Lucy couldn’t be shown sleeping in the same bed as Desi and all expletives had to be deleted. Now you can see naked body parts and more on cable TV, no one uses the term “blue” to describe humor or language any more, and Fifty Shades of Grey is on the NY Times best seller list. So please try reading that post again: Deep Purple and a Little Blue.