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Bright Path Shining

This 40” x 30” oil sketch started with inspiration of the phantasmagorical painting by Henri Rousseau, “Tiger in A Tropical Storm, Surprised.”

After loosening up a bit, this too began with academic issues (sketch, proportion, color recipes, underpainting, etc.) that require some skill but not much imagination…I felt ready to go all in.

But then I hated it, as I often do with my painting. How to fix it? Mix elements from other admired artists. Elaine and Willem de Kooning. Theirs and my beginning painting are close enough in composition, that the de Kooning inspiration could be super-imposed on the Rousseau inspiration. What a cool mix. So I went to work. The courage to experiment without worry about the end result does not happen automatically. It takes work to throw myself in to a piece with wild abandon and confidence that the result will be worth the uncertainty of ever getting "there."

Once this (third or fourth) layer dried I “drew” on some thick lines of paint to accent the "path," a rather Buddhist concept. It isn’t a Rousseau or de Kooning: It is mine, but with their voices in my brushwork.

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