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Painting Havana


In two months, I will show new works at a pop-up gallery event in Columbia, Maryland. In anticipation of this I am preparing some new works - actually haven't painted them yet, just thinking about painting them. Today I get started on the real work - pigment to canvas.


My work still tends to be erratic - no single form or style has yet emerged in two and a half years (or at least no style that I can discern). Momentum is essential, however, in growth and I set these challenges for myself to make sure I push on. The Columbia event (Busboys and Poets, May 13, 5 - 9) is something I am helping organize - what better way to get your work seen than to organize the show yourself! - and something that occupies a great deal of brain space these days. I am not going to show older work, not because I don't like it but because I am trying out this "thematic" approach as a way forward.


My first thematic works were almost my first works: a series of paintings about Annandale. Looking at those works now I see a lot of energy but not much skill. Given that the topic still interests me, I may have to revisit the theme and paint what I see around me anew. For the upcoming show, I anticipated doing a series and to this end, carefully observed my surroundings when I recently traveled to Havana. From those two trips, I will explore that southern city - its life, its people, its shapes, its colors.


While in Havana, I took hundreds of photos. These help me reflect on what I saw and serve, in some cases, as the basis for the work to come. I am thinking about structuring the work around certain colors or shapes or experiences, but I will start first and see if these emerge. In the show in May I can only hang about 5 or 6 pieces (but I think I will bring the others along and have them available for people to peruse, just not up on stage). As my friends know, I am very motivated by challenges, so this experience will help me step up my game a bit and see where I go after this.


Finally, sharing the work online has been my preferred approach - it helps finish off my thoughts and show where I am with any individual piece of work. I have decided that (shockingly!) I will share these works as well while I prepare for the show. It is unlikely that any of you will actually be able to come to the show - one night only in Columbia, Maryland - so it will be instructive to share the work as I am going along and hear what you have to say. I have learned so much from critiques and commenters and I love that I have this forum to share what I do. So, let's see what comes of all of this!

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