New thoughts for a new year

A long-time friend asked me a few questions about my art and I thought it would be a good idea to share my thoughts here.  He wanted to know how long I've been painting, how I got started, and how much time I spend painting.  These are all good questions and I often speak about them at art shows when talking to people interested in my art.  I've been painting for nearly twenty years (wow!). My wife and I took a special trip to Italy for a wedding anniversary in1998 and it was there that my interest in art really took off.  I saw art in the various cathredals, and while I am not typically drawn to the style of renaissance art, I was mesmerized by the idea that the artists had created specific works for exact location of the work.  Michelangelo or Raphael had created a particular sculpture or painting for that particular nave in that cathedral. I was curious about what the artist was thinking. Why did they choose to create that piece? How did he paint/sculpt that piece?  After we returned home I was encouraged to explore that curiousity and began to paint.  Representation at first, which is something I continue to do for myself but do not show or sell, and then eventually migrating to abstract. Abstract painting was compelling to me and felt like a calling. I began to explore the process of abstraction and then studied with several abstract artists while also learning the history of the abstract expressionists and then more contemporary abstrac artists. 

Today, I have continued to expand my studio space and try to spend at least some time in my studio every day.  There are days when I may immerse imyself in my studio. Other days I may only spend a brief period of time in the studio, but I do try to spend time in te space every day.  My studio habit usually involves having music playing while I paint. My music choice is wildly ecclectic. I enjoy everything from classic rock to background piano music,  from country to classical to alternative rock, and lately for some reason I've been listening to a lot of old southern rock.  My choice tends to reflect how I'm painting - fast and free-flowing, or focused and detailed.  Perhaps, at times, it works the other way around with the music having an effect on the way I'm painting. Either way, I love it when I am 'in the zone' and focused on my painting. 

I am very excited to be accepted into an artist residency in the Champaigne region of France this Spring.  This will give me an extended period to paint full-time without external distractions. We all have daily life activiites to take care of, and this residency will allow my to put painting front and center for a deep immersion.  I'm thrilled by the idea that I do not necessarily know how this will impact the work, and it this unknown factor that brings a strong sense of anticipation.

The journey continues.