Residue from last night’s sky.
When I was in graduate school at Harvard I took a series of printing classes at the Carpenter Center. My first teacher in print making was Michael Mazur. He taught us basic techniques for printing, etching, monotypes….After Mazur’s class I took additional courses focusing on monotype. Monotype is the printing process that most closely resembles painting. Each print is an original, there are no duplications or series as can occur in etching. A painting is made on a plate and run through the press on paper.
When I presented my Masters Thesis in Architecture I simultaneously presented a series of monoprints completed while I was completing my architectural work. While I loved the freedom painting afforded me I walked away from the work. I didn’t take seriously the work I had completed in the Carpenter Center. My focus on architecture far out shadowed my focus on print making. But over the years a desire to paint kept in, a desire to express myself through a form that was only limited by my own imagination, materials and technique.
In January of 2012 I finally ordered a press and all of the supplies I needed to get started. 310 pounds is steel rollers, and printing bed was delivered to me in Baton Rouge where I was living at the time. And there I started. Remembering what I had learned over 20 years before.
The painting continues today. On plate and canvas. I am learning about myself. I am learning about the world. How I see the world, how I communicate with
the world in Two-dimensions.
There are different ways to learn something, place, or body. Scientific thinking, which rules our educational programs, values discursive knowledge above other types of knowing. Learning from the outside never worked for me, I could never retain the facts very well because they seemed unconnected from life. Data just seemed it was always from the outside and I couldn’t make sense of the information. Deep knowledge, a type of learning that engages us in our senses, emotions, and intuition works for me. This knowledge stays with me and adds to who I am and how I relate to and understand the world. It’s an obvious connection that I teach from an immersive education platform.
This past month I discovered John Mayer. Yes, I know. He’s an international pop star. But I don’t listen to the radio really. In my search for guitar and lyric driven music I thought I would try him out. After a month of listening to all of his early music – a lot . I moved on to his most recent album/disc/collection…which – as the critics say – is different from his previous music. This is true in many ways. For me the time with Mayer’s music is all about learning how another artists crafts their reality through their art. Architect, poet, painter or musician, we all build a world through the art we make. We build off of each other too, borrowing sensibilities, quoting each other , referencing our own work back again. The immersion in another artist can be a mediation for us to muse from.
As far as Mayer, it is his song number 6, Born and Raised, that is Jackson Hole this fall. Melancholy. The days of half light. Slow moving after the tourists have gone. Moose drinking from Fish Creek. Reminding me of the late 70s when JH was “discovered”‘by those who made the place what we experience today. I meditate on the feeling of JH and what it means to me as a place while driving down the road and listening to this tune. Give it a listen.
Within all of this immersion is my own art. I began painting again in January. After many years of not painting. In Louisiana the work was all sunlight reflecting off of water. It was the Tao te Ching. In Bozeman my work has been like a bullet ricocheting off of hard surfaces. But it is coming to rest now. I have moved from smaller works on paper to large paintings. The one attached to this blog I just started. It’s about 7’x8’. I am learning what the work is about. But I cannot really tell you in words yet. Maybe I could play it on guitar, though.