The quest: mysterious and weird

Last month I shared with you that I started painting people again. You can see the first four paintings of the series below. I’m now working on the fifth painting of six I planned to make. After I make six, I’ll decide if I’m going to continue making them. At this point, I’m loving the process, I’m learning a lot and I see no reason to stop working figuratively in the near future. It’s interesting to note that I was primarily painting people until a semester into graduate school when I began exploring abstraction. This was back in 2002, and over the years every time I tried making figurative work again, it just didn’t feel right.

This time feels different. The way I’m approaching painting the figures and establishing their relationship to the spaces around them, the way I’m layering the paint and using color feels like things I’ve been thinking of for the last 2 decades are clicking.

I’m interested in what happens when the figures aren’t looking out at us, when they look away or toward someone or something off the edge of the painting. The paintings feel like a moment within time, like something has just happened before we were privy to the moment in the painting and it will continue beyond the painting. The people occupy outside spaces that are ambiguous, sometimes deep and three-dimensional and other time more geometric and on the surface of the painting. I’m playing with colors, noticing which ones create interesting optical effects, particularly on the depth portrayed in the painting. The paintings are mysterious and a little weird and that feels like the right place for me right now.

Four recent paintings on my studio wall

Looking at the image of my studio above and of the painting Pilot Mountain 1 below, you’ll notice similar colors and compositions. Seeing my work from different periods like this together reminds me that I’ve been interested in the same things visually for a long time. I think it’s the subject matter thats most different.

Pilot Mountain 1 is available from my shop. It’s one of the paintings inspired by my favorite place to walk and run, Pilot Mountain. 

Pilot Mountain 1, acrylic and oil on panel, 20 x 20 inches, 2018

Teaching at UNCSA

I am pleased to share that I’m now part of the School of Filmmaking faculty at UNC School of the Arts. I’m teaching in the Production Design and Animation departments and am excited to be training the next generation of filmmakers. This semester I teach how to communicate ideas, mood and stories through drawing, as well as color: how we perceive it, how it behaves and how to use it effectively. I am not exaggerating when I say that what I’m teaching is 100% my JAM.

In the studio, after a summer of drawing, I decided to be brave and do something I’ve been trying to do on and off for about 2 decades: integrate the human figure into an abstract painting. I sanded down the paintings I started in the spring (they didn’t feel right) and am working on a new group of works. I’m making six 30×40 inch pieces – a sort of proof of concept if you will. I’m still figuring out what they’re about, but it feels like the right direction for my work at the moment. I’m enjoying the process and am learning a lot. You can see a studio view below.

PS: The shop is open and works are available for purchase now or on a payment plan. You can see available pieces here. And you can always email me if you have any questions about my work, whether it’s an existing piece or a commission you’re thinking of.

Three current paintings in progress – Each one is oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches.
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