Thoughts on Six Days of Iris
My work is often layered, image over image. When I was asked to contribute work to a show about layers I had a clear idea of what I was going for. However, my subject, an iris, didn’t cooperate. I struggled with this for a little while and then I did what I always do when a painting doesn’t evolve the way I want it to; I gave in. And where did this act of surrender lead? Well, it forced me to think about layers in a less literal way. The core of my interest was in the unfolding of an iris I’d spent nearly a week observing and drawing last Spring. Working from those drawings I understood that each stage of blooming was a layer of time; each painting a layer documenting the changes of the iris over six days.
Another aspect of layering I became conscious of was the steps of my decision- making process. For these paintings I worked wet on wet and the choices had to be made very quickly. Each painting consists of many, many layers of split second decisions. How much pigment is on the brush, how much water, when to lift the brush, when to use more pressure and most importantly when to stop.
I also found myself thinking about layering not so much in the building up of, but in the stripping away, a kind of layering in reverse. For me, painting requires a certain calmness, a quietness of the mind. To get there one needs to cut through the seemingly endless noise of the mind; the worries, the nagging to-do list and the most dreaded, the self doubt that seems to haunt so many of us involved in creative endeavors.