For the last several weeks I’ve been painting instead of making prints. I was feeling a bit of an itch to paint, it’s true, but the primary factor is that printmaking is difficult to do without the right equipment and supplies – supplies too toxic or messy, and equipment too expensive or cumbersome for a one bedroom apartment with two humans and a graceless cat. Gouache is easier. Cleaner, faster, smaller, lighter.
I think all artists fantasize about possessing endless, or at least very generous, resources that allow for the freedom to create whatever is in our heads. But the reality is that restrictions of time, space, and (mother of all) economics often shape our practices. The years for this struggle are long and arduous: it takes time to build relationships with art dealers, curators, consultants, collectors and institutions. Extraordinary work (we hope) must happen within the most quotidian constraints.
Recognizing the practical limitations I must contend with for now, I began painting in gouache. I thought of them as studies, at first: rough, unfinished little things that I would dream up bigger, better, someday. My partner chided me for calling them studies. “What are they studies of?” he asked. I said something very clever, I’m sure, but I was dissembling. I was afraid to invest in them. What if they didn’t work out? I haven’t painted in years. Shortly after that conversation, I stopped calling them studies.
These six are, I believe, a solid beginning. It’s so satisfying to work serially, to give myself a wide but coherent land to explore. I’m excited to see where these take me – which might be the best and most satisfying way to feel in the creative process.