I sometimes “wake up” in the midst of painting, struck with a slippery, out-of-time question: “What am I doing? What is this thing called painting, this brush into pools of color, this linen rectangle on the wall that holds its own world? Who made this world? What does it mean?”
Painting makes no sense. It’s the weirdest thing I do; it’s the most real thing I do.
How can something make no sense and yet be so real? That unanswerable question perhaps contains the endless draw of art, in all its forms.
One could say that painting is a conversation, a talking with the unknown. The lexicon is color and shape and surface and line; edges abutting edges sharply or bleeding, seeping, blurring. The lexicon is movement in space and stillness in space. It is balance, either stable or tentative, standing or falling, just catching itself. Painting is its own language for which there is no translation.
The more time that goes by, the more I paint, the less I understand what I’m doing. But, strangely, the waning of understanding makes painting all the more compelling to me. I have come to hunger conversing with the unknown. I love the call and response: A color suggests itself; a shape appears. I consider. I make another color/shape. The painting responds and shifts. I respond, shift; and this does not end until the painting has a sort of “jump,” a flickering balance, and eye pulse – and the threshold from inanimate object to alive is crossed.
But what is my subject? What are the unknown and I talking about? I don’t know. That is the beauty of it. That is the odd faith in painting, in all art. Art, of all natures and variety, is a way of extending one’s reality to see whether your molecules connect with other molecules. And when they do, there is some tremendous “…ahhh…” of communion. And when the molecules do not connect, that is OK, too. We are all different.