In 2016 I began documenting my painting process for a large acrylic on wood panel piece titled, Consumption. It had been nearly two years since I’d thought about creating figurative work. My creative mind was swollen with lines and pooled wells of color-- blending, bleeding and flowing into shared and separate spaces. My painting practice had become an abstraction of my practice as a therapist, working daily in a city hospital, surrounded by one of the most basic human impulses – coming together and letting go.
Like many paintings, this idea began years earlier and had been inching forward through the accumulation of many sketches, collage and handwritten notes. Feeling creatively stalled, but apropos of accumulation, this painting was finally started on a spare door that we had propped up against the wall in our home for several months. For that long stretch it had been a door, nothing remarkable, just propped and leaning. And then suddenly it became a canvas. It’s not that I hadn’t been having thoughts for some time about creating something new, I had been collecting the images slowly; it’s only that suddenly those ideas needed somewhere to spread out and had found a surface.
So it was this ritual of letting go, which first required an acknowledgment of presence and was followed by an act of separation and setting the weight and persistence of inaction down which finally moved the process. 2016 turned out to be a year of great letting go, tinged by the shock of a new political climate. But that is a temporary thing. I’ve witnessed parents let go of children, and children let go of childhood, and families let go of normalcy. These are acts of bravery and I’ve learned to notice when they are happening because I’ve come to regard these shifts as seismic, tectonic, and I want to both cultivate both the ability to plant myself firmly among them and bend with the flux. I’ve personally been in the practice of setting things down and stepping away for the last six years, before which I was firmly rooted in the practice of accumulation. Which in a sense is the basis and impetus for this painting.
- LDS, 2018
Consumption, acrylic on wood panel, 34 x 84, 2016