In the summer of 2005 I was at the tail end of doing a series of ink and watercolor pieces that I had been creating for two years. To begin these, as I traveled about in my bag I would always have several sheets of heavy watercolor paper. When something struck my fancy, or as I was waiting in the dental office I would work on them, be it home, in airports, museums or cafes. In the fall of 2005 I moved onto other things leaving twelve pieces unfinished. My methodology in creating these had been to work spontaneously, similar to how I create images in my sketchbook, where a drawing that that I had created from a concept in a lecture ended up being combined with a figure I liked from a piece I saw in a museum, etc… Since I typically am very planned out with what I create, I liked the spontaneity of assembling these images and their ideas.
What has been interesting in launching into completing these now, is I am now approaching half-baked ideas four years later. Since much of my work is about observations at the time, I’m finding it curious to reflect on my viewpoint then, in contrast often to my viewpoint now. Technically, I have in addition discovered that I really enjoy working in gouache on the original watercolor and ink pen works (similar to what I did for a series years ago called “Paradigm Shift”) . The transparency of the watercolor is illuminated nicely in contrast to the sharpness and flat elements that gouache can provide.
A case in point of how my perspective changed: The work below “Community Has Its Perils” came about initially by being the drawing of the saint like figure on the left with birds, the pattern on the right, the gate in the lower right corner, and the photos of “named” stars. I drew the image in the summer of 05 in a cafe in Pittsburgh after leading an intense men’s experiential weekend in Michigan. I was feeling quite optimistic about the idea of “community” at the time. But- four years later, I know now that community takes a heck of a lot of work, and with the benefit of time, I’m struck that a number of the individuals that were so hip on the idea of “brotherhood” have gone their own way.
So with my new perspective, I changed the coloring to be a more sober one (adding in the sap green, and deepening the brown), and added the bees and wood figure in gouache. The bees are a traditional symbol of the monastic community, but in painting them in glow-in-the dark colors they come across in my assessment more menacing than comforting. The wooden character was added as the observer in, and of it all. He’s still in it for the long haul, despite the work that it involves.
Blessings to you- Tim