Friday, November 10, 2006

Eighty Degrees and Snow Means Time to Paint Faster

Art is totally hot right now, and we're not just talking about the big masterpieces that sell for millions at snooty auction houses in New York and London. "In an increasingly overheated world-wide art market, the demands of a voracious — and growing — community of buyers is putting pressure on artists to produce more work, faster, than ever before." - Toronto Star 11/10/06


I was going to call again last night, after I finished working in the studio, but you’re in a different time zone and I didn’t want to wake your children, given it was already late in Santa Fe and I live far west of you. I didn’t want to wake your children – how strange that sounds to me, though my offspring are even older than yours. At what point did we awake and decide that today was the day we should behave maturely?

I did a couple paintings yesterday. I finished one I had begun the evening before, then started and finished two more. In total, I spent about eleven hours in the studio; starting in the morning and finishing around ten-thirty. I don't usually paint with an idea in mind. I just start thinking about a theory or story or some philosophy that exists (or should) and I just flow into the work on some automatic-mode that is so relaxed, I can only assume it has always been a part of me.

The first painting I completed was of our Missouri home and youthful inability to “see the forest for the trees”. A tired cliché, I know… but how true it rings on a morning such as this when I glanced across an open sky to encounter the southern Rockies from my front yard.

The next work started while I was mulling-over these high desert opportunities I have witnessed (both for myself as well as others) in the past year. I started the work by drawing a fresh set of wooden doors breaking the high desert plains in front of zen-like mountains. When the piece was done… the doors had been repainted to appear closed. I swear I’m often only half-conscious when I work.

The last painting of the evening was of my old stomping grounds in Glacier County, Montana. I wasn’t thinking of the place on any conscious level; instead I was rolling around our conversation from Monday evening. I had mentioned that Sherri and I tentatively decided it would be time to give New York City a try, in a few years; you in-turn doubted my sanity. For the sake of my “career”, I know the next logical step is to take the time to acquire reliable long-lasting NYC gallery representation – and that requires living there. Manhattan is a far cry from the open American West I desire to love and protect for my little family. To further confuse my heart, yesterday afternoon, I read of early November Alaskan snow on another artist’s blog. I quickly fell into thoughts of following paths loaded with fresh spells of white soft manna towards a well-lit studio adjoining a warm home in remote branches of the far north. Sometimes I wonder if a strong winter is the sustenance I most need. – DN

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