Letters Never Written
My abstract works – often muted, hazy suggested landscapes and seascapes, both real and imagined, typically begin with phrases of poetry, in particular Catalan poetry, that deeply resonate with me – phrases that create a visceral reaction. In rather not so elegant terms, words that quite literally send a buzz up my spine or a chill down my arm. The words arrive long before the painting.
Increasingly, I spend long periods of time in Barcelona, in the autonomous region of Spain that is Catalunya. The Catalan language and the rich Catalan literary heritage have come to deeply and profoundly influence my work. I seem to always return to the sea and to the land – countless hours spent on the Gulf coast of Florida where I grew up, and now, reflective moments spent at the Mediterranean, gazing at the endless sea, looking to the distant horizon, contemplating mysteries, or meditative time spent in the mountains of Montseny and Montserrat.
In these pieces, I work on wood supports, prepared by hand. First, examining boards and choosing suitable cuts, then cutting, sanding, and preparing with gesso – traditional techniques I learned during my studies in Italy. There are many hours spent, hands and knees on the studio floor, preparing panels before the painting even begins.
Repetition. Reduction. Minimalism. I typically use two or three colors at most in these works – only varying the tint and shade. Working to capture shadow and light, I paint in thin washes. Multiple layers are reduced, wiped away, and then painted over, layer by layer, again and again. With thin washes of paint, the wood grain eventually seeps through, becoming an integral part of the final work. Irregularities in the grain, the occasional blemish, are transformed into something with a certain imperfect beauty, making each piece unique. The final results evoke ethereal, dreamy emotional landscapes – each work a small meditation.