Art is a universal language. It is expression without words, it is the language of color, texture, and form. In addition to expressing myself through painting, I'm an aspiring polyglot. I love learning languages. Speaking multiple languages offers access to different world views and cultures. More languages create more depth and range in my ability to perceive and express myself. There are words for concepts in other languages that do not exist in my native tongue. I enjoy accessing expanded thinking and emoting. Multiple languages beget more freedom and allow me wider breadth of expression. In addition to my native English I am also fluent in Spanish and can get by in Italian. I'm now learning Mandarin, hence the inspiration to title my new series of paintings 我畫畫. Chinese characters are not phonetic, but rather they are depictions of concepts. Over time the characters have become abstract, but they are rooted in pictorial representations. This new series will be exhibited Friday, September 28th from 5:00-8:00pm at my downtown home studio.
Did you know that art has a profound impact on your biochemistry? Viewing art powerfully alters your state of mind, mood, and feelings. Maybe you have experienced this before? You see a particular artwork and feel that it "speaks" to you. Your feelings are stirred up, or perhaps the mind steadies and new thoughts emerge. Brain scans reveal that people experience an immediate increase in blood flow in the brain when looking at art. Specifically, "reward circuits" of the brain are activated, even if the viewers lack art expertise. Simply looking at art creates a physiological pleasure response similar to being in love. Apparently, even if viewers don't perceive a dramatic effect, art stimulates brain activity and promotes a deep sense of well being. Rad!
A while back, after lunching with a friend in Pacific Grove, I popped into the Pacific Grove Art Center to have a look around. As soon as I walked in, I was captivated by a particular painting. Upon approaching it, I discovered that what I was admiring was a watercolor painting... On canvas! When I got home I immediately fired up my laptop and began a mad Google search to see what I could learn about painting with watercolor on canvas. My search turned up Fredrix Archival Watercolor Canvas at DickBlick.com. This is a fairly new product that allows watercolor paint to be applied to canvas. I immediately ordered several to play with. To my chagrin, these canvases did not behave like paper (duh!) and all my years of painting experience were useless to me. But I was determined to overcome my ignorance and so I set out to teach myself. I began to conduct a series of experiments, from which my current work developed. Those early attempts were bristled with frustration. Yet I persisted and went on to create a series of paintings inspired by the art making process itself, which was laden with emotional vulnerability. Struggle gave was to surrender, and in doing so I was able to access the courage to allow the art to emerge uncensored. I will be exhibiting this new series of paintings on September 28th, in downtown Santa Cruz. For details click here. I hope to see you there!
Even though showing my art inflames my vulnerability, the art seems to insist on having an audience anyway. I can tell it's time to have an art show when I've collected a body of work and the thought of exhibiting it slightly terrifies me. Okay, okay. Who am I kidding? It totally, completely terrifies me. And that is where I find myself with these new abstract paintings I have been creating. I am working with my beloved media, watercolor, but on canvas and with the addition of pen and ink. Some of these pieces are quite large, measuring 24"x36". This is a new direction for my artwork. The vulnerability clearly indicates that it is time to set a date and put on my other hats of curator and gallerist, snap my fingers, and make a huge party happen. So mark you calendars for the evening of September 28th. The art is looking forward to seeing you!
Humans have been making art for tens of thousands of years. Literally. The oldest known cave paintings are about 30,000 years old! (If you are interested in seeing them, check out this spectacular 3D documentary called Cave of Forgotten Dreams.) Clearly, art defines our humanity in the same way that cooking, sport and language does. There is no culture or society that does not produce art. It is a universal human experience. Creating art triggers an endorphin release in the brain, which gives rise to a euphoric feeling and enhanced immune response. The result is similar to eating chocolate, having sex, or exercising. Not only does art making activate a pleasure response, it actually improves health by reducing stress and pain. You can benefit from making art regardless of your ability or skill level. So go ahead, pick up a brush, a pencil, or whatever media attracts you and make some art! It is you human birthright to experience the natural high artists have enjoyed for tens of thousands of years!