Each year I have a goal to focus on either a new technique or explore a new subject. The idea is that I will push myself to learn and in the process keep my art fresh.
After a year of making etchings of cypress trees and very large ink washes of the trees as well, I have moved into of all things, orange peels. For many months I have worked on the spirals that are created with orange peels, turning them into watercolor studies, then into etchings. First, I made a single plate image and then worked to make that image into a 3-plate color aquatint. Initially I made just the peels hanging in space, but then eventually made the orange and the peel on a plate. It’s very slow work.
Since the New Year I have been working on images of collapsing old buildings. To me this represents the passage of time. There are many buildings between Marin and Sea Ranch that I look at each time I make the drive. I finally realized that if I didn’t either make a sketch or take a photo, the changes would be lost. Now I have begun my series with the long barn just south of the Russian River. Soon that barn will all be on the ground. The old schoolhouse right before the new 2 Fish Bakery is another building I like documenting.
A second project is to draw only what I can remember from an event or place. It’s not easy for me to draw without looking at the subject so this will be a challenge.
In spite of creating a new challenge for myself each year, I notice as I review my work, that it all seems to circle around to each other. Past work influences the new work no matter what media I am working in. There is a common thread of my childhood memories from Pennsylvania, wanting to create a place of comfort and noticing reactions to relationships between people. I will be curious to see how the crumbling buildings will fit into all this.