Early visual mentors, Mondrian, Schwitters, Hopper led the way with their compositional arrangements that I dissected for underlying structures. Structure gave me a sense of stability and assurance. Diebenkorn’s work made an appearance in 1977 and re-entered in full force in 1999. My hunger grew. How could a minimal abstract artist like myself learn to use paint and color that way? I wanted to make viewers want to pick-up my paintings and “eat them” too.

I searched and viewed works for hints. The 1990s brought some hope. The years of searching, looking, assimilating and dissecting, did have an impact! At a Haystack summer workshop, I worked on the hard-edge minimal print, Tri-umph! The finished print was hung next to a piece of newsprint I used for testing colors. The newsprint sheet was dynamite: free, vibrant, unrestrained and on its way to being “luscious”. Was this the way to go? How do I get there? Viewing oeuvres of various artists I noticed some (Mondrian, Kandinsky, O”Keeffe, e.g.) were able to move from realism to abstraction by manipulating their realistic work. My realistic work never led me where I hoped to go. How could I find the way? The only way was to “do it”. Paint whatever came out of my being and keep moving forward. During 1999 and 2000 I produced 2 series of work on paper. Emotionally charged and full of energy they are described by this quote from Georgia O’Keeffe “I find that I have painted my life –things happening in my life–without knowing.” A beginning, but not exactly where I hoped to be. They lacked the structure and compositional arrangement I loved so much.

Then as a teaching tool I started a new series of 13 paintings. Using start-up images from a HP Laser printer I glued them to 13 pieces of 20” X 26” paper. Tissue paper, graphite, colored pencil, fabric, found objects, and transparent paint were demonstrated and added. Students and teacher created together. Sharing ideas and experimenting, gave us the opportunity to see our paintings develop. Ah, but what about the structure I always loved so much? I added it on top of what was there and kept going. The HP Series of 2005 was born. Another move forward.

During a European trip in 2007, photographic images were taken for their structural impact. I imagined them as first steps in a new series of abstract paintings I would produce. Those 15 photos became the series Bridging the Gap (from realism to abstraction). Another step forward. Keep going…

Looking for new direction I re-read Working Space, lectures Frank Stella delivered in 1983-84 at Harvard. Stella points out that Caravaggio’s ability to create space, spread light and create a sense of reality throughout a painting is one remedy for the “awkward position” painting stands in today. Taking Stella’s advice and looking closely at Caravaggio I venture forward in the hope that using these recommendations I can discover something worthwhile for others and myself. Keep going, do it, move forward…

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