Posted on Nov 29, 2020 in General

This year, which has been challenging, anxiety-provoking, and sad in many ways, has also yielded unexpected gifts. I am grateful for the new way of working that I began with great trepidation in 2018. The process of making these icon-related paintings has required me to work much more slowly and patiently than ever before, the paint applied in many layers instead of a direct alla prima approach. Each one is a mystery when it begins, and there is no set outcome in advance or any predetermined process to bring it to a conclusion. I can’t rely totally on a skill set that will “deliver the goods.” And this is a good thing – sometimes very uncomfortable, but good, if remaining challenged by painting is the aim.

In fallow times, there are panels to prepare with hide glue, fabric, and layers of traditional gesso, and this is a relaxing activity (now that I’m finally doing it correctly).  I used to joke that it would be an ideal life to be a monk illuminating manuscripts in a monastery. This is as close to it as I am likely to get.

During the past two years of glorious Maine weather days, when I would normally be consumed with either painting landscapes outside or gnashing my teeth that so many possible paintings were eluding me due to time constraints, I’ve been able to (for the first time in twenty years) been able just to look at the landscape with a detached enjoyment. The duel with Nature is off, at least for the time being.