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Omphaloskepsis Blog

Process Development

Nov 17, 2010


Mi madre bordaba lagrimas desiertas en los primeros arcoiris. 9’7” x 6’ 6” approx. (I’m painting it sideways because it doesn’t quite fit in my studio the other way and it’s an easier reach.

Every time I paint one of the Non-ordinary Reality paintings the process changes a little - or a lot. This one is so large, I have to paint it on its side. Like “Creation...” the image is digitally split in two and then pieced back together.


This is Jaden She’s 7.

I continue to try to make improvements to my technique, process, understanding of painting these images. How should the paint be applied so that the water feels like water, sounds like water, smells like water? What’s too much detail? What’s too little? When am I phoning it in? When am I fiddling with it too much? When is it becoming rote? Am I still paying attention? Here’s a happy accident, can I let it go? - that’s the new thing.


Jaden’s private art teacher is Christen Mattix, a fabulous artist in her own right, and a friend.

This is all underpainting. I’m not sure if I’m doing myself any favors by stealing the opportunity now to put in details while I paint the local color. But it seems that locating the watery patterns in space from the image to the canvas relies on some mapping. Additionally, the wet on wet technique really works especially well for this image as there is a great deal of motion in the water.


Christin and Jaden’s mom, Abby, brought Jaden to my studio one day, over the summer, for a studio visit. I showed her my portrait of Ginger Mold, painted with house paint on paper from the 50 paintings in 50 days series.

I love this image. I think I’m going to love it more in paint.


We talked, well, I talked paper stock. I had Jaden feel the thickness of the different papers. I’m sure Christen already did this stuff with her and I’m sure Jaden was scared to death of me as she didn’t open her mouth and was very reluctant.

Its good to be back in my work space. Just working on my stuff. Getting distracted, feeling down, or disorganized are just part of the normal creative cycle. They’re part of the human cycle. Ramping up, ramping down, figuring out what comes next and how to do it. Creating a distraction free zone around myself so I can work is key. And I’m happiest that way.


Before they left I gave Jaden a remnant from a roll of Arches cold press. They didn’t stay long. I was a little worried that I was too intense for Jaden. But overall, I was really excited to have Jaden in my studio. I was a kid artist too and when I was a little older than her, a sculptor had one of my works up during her opening. I got to go to the opening. What I remember is my mom being at the opening, having witnesses and validation to//for my work. I have the poster from that opening. What I don’t remember is what artwork of mine was shown.

It’s always taken me an extreme amount of forceful energy to switch gears from one kind of linear creative endeavor to a more spontaneous, interpretive creative endeavor. This year has been broken up into overlapping bits, or beats as it came to be known in acting because of Stanislavski’s accent. Painting, showing, networking, writing. Now I’m switching back to painting. But finding the bridge and crossing the bridge between writing about the work or proposals, and creating with my own hands...that’s a treacherous walk. I’ve literally spent 25 years limbering up for and taking that trek back and forth across that bridge. And every time I find it easier, I’m more limber, faster. But still, it’s a hell of a crossing. And I like both places, but its easier to travel from the free-flowing to the linear than the other way around.


Here’s the finished painting from Jaden’s hand. Thank you Abby for sending these!

Tomorrow I’m going to speak at an alternative high school and show some work. I’m really looking forward to it!

Category: Creativity

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