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Back When: Clay was the Thing

Lily's, 20x16", oils and enamels on canvas, 1975, framed.


In 1975, I was still affectionately connected to clay in every way. Making the brush, was a big deal. It was like making the bow for a cello or violin. The brush gave the character. In a way, you followed what the brush would give. A constant surprise came out of an old worn-out floor mop in cotton that was full of inaccuracies and very porous: a real sauper of a fluffy fluid full of body and chroma. In this painting, I'm still painting like on a clay surface. Ceramic materials require a homogenized slurry with just the right calculations of chemical/ geomaterials, with a perfect soft ice cream-like mixture. You could almost eat it- it is so fluffy and yet weighty. When you come down with the instrument holding your guuu it is like a drumbeat, it has a downpouring effect of paint leaving the brush- with just the feel of it being a hit.


On the other hand, besides the brush are many many ways of getting paint to fly in the air. One of my other favorites is manhandlings, take it in your hands and throw it, or sponge it, or spit it, or foot it. With Spray you use an airgun with a nozzle on it that mixes it with air and evaporates, to the extent it is a lot of air, traveling in space. You determine everything about a sprayers atomization- of glazes, paint, patinae, barn paint for wood fences, sides of houses and automobiles, bikes, etc. I was really into modified cars when in high school, hotrods, loud mufflers, driving up and down College Ave. in Fort Collins. Auto spraying was a biggy. To paint a whole car was a huge effort of many talents uniting to one finished product.


This painting is also very special because Lola Sue liked flowers. All her life her mother, Mildred Jenkins, would always be prolific in planting and using them inside the house as presents to ourselves. And she affected very definitely my need for this flower especially because they were so unbelievably perfect and long-lasting with the same feeling of joy, every day they lasted. Lily's were my favorite because of the huge petal and their design was flawlessly perfect. Plus the colors of Lily's are so crystal clear and clean with undulations of different colors into the quick of the flower that is perfectly blended. One of my favorite artists of history was Georgia Okeffee who could paint this delicacy in large sculptural flower and form.


Once again part of what I see in this painting is the brush making its bold statement full of paint. And then an expression of each stroke is greatly due to an active wrist and flexible arm. I'm painting for sheer joy just brushstrokes that are describing a flower petal or stem in the end of the throwing on the paint. It can be a contest in keeping the brush on the canvas to the edge. Here I have done one stroke of a petal and it has gone outside the edge of the canvas. I use this gesture to show the idea of infinity, it goes on and on forever after you see it vanish. And the little batch of yellow color in the stamen area is meant to be splashy. I threw some aluminum paint in the air while the canvas was wet with paint and wanted the very cloudlike organic floating amorphous lite form - which worked out nicely. I liked this and it was one of Sue's favorites. I think I have three more or two more as a series with this one.

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