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“Fresh Eyes”

The Effect of Changing Environments on my Art

I have made 3 or 4 significant changes in my studio locations the past two years (5 weeks or more). I’ve worked in southern New Jersey part of the year and southern Florida the other. This experience has made me a better artist, because making art is similar to what Steve Jobs (rest his genius soul) said about creativity. It’s about leaps of insight, seeing possibilities, and connecting the dots.

I’m always trying to see my work with fresh eyes, I’ll turn my painting upside down, I’ll squint or walk away to see it from a distance. I’ll look at it in a mirror. Sometimes I’ll take a photo of a WIP, and play with it on a computer.

I have no road map or hard formula for creating my work, other than beginning with the modernist’s grid (loosely applied). So, I’m always asking the question, where do I go from here? And the more I continually look at the work, the harder it is to get that “flash of insight”. What I’ve started to do in the art process is to let my work “rest” for a while. Working in two different locations allows me to do exactly this. I like to have 3 or 4 unfinished paintings in SNJ and SFL at the same time. I do this at the stage of the work where I am “stuck”, unable to move in a direction. I do it when i get “lost”. Using a cooking analogy, changing studio locations allows the work t0 “simmer” for a while. I take it off the heat (my active painting) and simply let it sit.

It’s amazing what happens to your vision when you see unfinished work (and even what you see as finished work) with fresh eyes. I get an immediate flash of insight, and I know exactly what direction I want to go. You can do the same thing by simply turning a painting around in your studio for 6 or so weeks (just don’t look at). I just got down to my SFL studio and like magic, it happened again. I have a major Jumpsquare piece that, when I left Florida in May, was in a major state of rebellion and torturing me. I had 40 hours in the work and was going round and round, searching for answers.

The moment I saw the work I knew immediately what to do and where I wanted to take the work.

“Fresh Eyes”are all that I needed.


One comment

  1. Mary Cogswell

    Enjoyed reading your responses to your work. I am at exactly the same place. I

    took out four old paintings and was working on each. The first one I just put toward

    the wall with the idea that a fresh eye might solve some of my problems. Your

    experience encourages me to follow suit. Thank you, Mary

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