I am remiss in not having done this at the outset – informed readers of the goals of my residency. What I wrote in my application proposal is that I wanted to expand my body of work I call The Burnscapes. They’re watercolors of burned-over forest lands and trees — that is, distant landscapes and close-up “portraits” of individual trees. I said I wanted to expand this work “literally” (forests beyond the Pacific Northwest of my home), “technically” (explore new methods and techniques, improve my understanding of the science), and “artistically” (which I did allude to in mentioning philosophical contrasts in my November 16 posting).
Much as I love the sudden magic when our brains are manipulated by two-dimensional marks to leap into an illusory third dimension, I need to move beyond simple (or even sophisticated!) rendering. I’ve been pleased with the self-mixing random flow and drips of my Numbers series, especially in contrast to tight rendering.
Credit to Etsuko Ichikawa, who creates large-scale banners by rolling hot glass over paper, I wanted to try using burning itself as a form of drawing. Great that my new woodburning kit came back from Thanksgiving in carry-on without incident!
And I’ve been experimenting with new ways to present the existing body of work. I’m intrigued by what happens visually and intellectually when existing paintings are curved into semi-columns, though I have no idea yet how to make such a presentation flexible, stable and archival.
I also learned from my residency at the Vermont Studio Center that having personal production goals, while seemingly laudable and efficient, somewhat wastes the opportunity. Here is a chance to be directly influenced by the other attendees, to open my thinking to other opinions and practices. So I look forward tonight to the presentations of the other “self-directed” artists-in-residence, and to more studio visits between us.