I just sold this painting to a wonderful couple up in Salt Lake City, I couldn’t be happier about it, either. I learned a lot doing this particular canvas.
The more I paint, the more I realize that I don’t have to begin with an idea or intention fully formed. I just need to put a lot of color on a canvas to start, then wait for the painting to tell me what to do next.
It’s almost like a collaboration with an inanimate object.
This painting, Night & Day, emerged in exactly this way. I started with one very sloppily painted phthalo blue canvas and let it sit for a few days. I slathered more of the same blue in a wide line across the canvas, creating a division–a before and after of some sort.
Then I slept on it, which, as it turns out, was all I needed to do; the finished canvas is a very specific look at the distinctions between our thoughts during waking hours and in sleep.
Daytime is represented by the lower fourth of the painting. It’s meant to be small. Little boxes and occasional circles in colors to represent the notion that our waking hours are filled with “small ideas” that are generally silo’ed and rarely intersect. This part of the painting is left in a matted finish to represent the general dullness of our thinking.
In sleep, however, all those little thoughts get to grow, merge, intersect, get messy and bold and bright. It’s why we get those fabulous and bizarre connections in dreams; it’s why we wake up with some of our best ideas and clearest thinking. This is represented in the top section of the painting where watercolors bleed freely. This section was also finished with a gloss varnish.
The moon was the final element added to the painting, and I almost didn’t put it in. I’m so glad I did – it’s actually my favorite part. The placement is directly above the daytime “ideas” to suggest the moon’s gravitational “pull” on those daytime ideas, helping them cross into the subconscious. It was painted in oil pen.
Night & Day. 20″ x 24″. Acrylic, watercolor, oil pen. 2014.