Saturday, July 25, 2009

White Light

"It is the happiness of eyes that have seen the sea of existence become calm, and now they can never weary of the surface and of the many hues of this tender, shuddering skin of the sea."
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

Emanation III, oil on canvas, 29 x 22 inches
© 2009 Diane McGregor

I'm working on a new series of paintings that explore the color white and how it interacts with other hues. The titanium white skin applied over the layers of deeper color beneath express a subdued resonance, and seem to have a calming effect. I have been exploring texture and how that relates to the veiling and unveiling of forms -- layering a brushstroke over a color produces a wonderful texture with the color underneath, and with the white produces a veiling effect that has always been an interest of mine. Using the grid as a matrix, I am pursuing a project which lacks lines, hard edges, and clearly defined shapes. I love the dream-like quality and the ambiguous figure/ground relationship of this new direction in my work. I believe that the grid structure I use to develop the paintings transcends narrative and reveals a pure abstract expression of nature's essence; the continuous, repetitive action of the brushstrokes open up the painter to something beyond the conscious mind -- an archetypal truth.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wisdom of the Paint

Butterfly's Dream, oil on canvas, 24 x 19 inches, © 2009 Diane McGregor

"Intuition without experience is embarrassing and naive. Only when you have enough experience, can you trust your intuition. When I am painting I find myself in an unnameable world; it is undefinable, but tangible. I manipulate shapes that are completely invented and yet it's as if they must be this way or that. I realize that I am the only person who knows how these forms need to be.

"Now all you have to do is ruin a number of paintings to realize how many pitfalls there are in this process. Holding on to a good detail just for the sake of it is a recipe for disaster. Holding on to something that is not functioning with the whole will ultimately destabilize the painting. I have to be ruthless and throw away what is not functional."

Wise words from Caio Fonseca. This was also an important point that many of my professors would try to get across to us in art school. I believe the paint itself holds a kind of "knowing," and it is up to the artist to commune with the paint, the color, and the process of application. Sometimes, one must realize that the best part of a painting must be destroyed (i.e., painted over) in order to save the entire painting from failure. Over the years, I have become a little more experienced and a little more fearless with every painting I create. I think this is the reason why my newest work is becoming rather painterly and spontaneous. I rely upon my intuition to allow a brushstroke to just BE, without feeling that I have to tidy it up or blend it or "fix" it. This has opened up a new way of being with the paint -- allowing intuition to guide me, and trusting my experience to select what remains and what must be surrendered.