Friday, June 24, 2016

Metamorphic Muse

While in Nova Scotia, Dave and I hiked a trail along the coast at Ovens Natural Park where "stratified and intrusive rock that has been subjected to mild deformation and lower green schist-facies metamorphism" struts its stuff. The rock formations provided some of the best art of the week, both as rock formations in and of themselves and as the spur to a very satisfying painting adventure in my studio.

Every now and then Big Magic, as writer Elizabeth Gilbert calls it, comes knocking. The process of creating this painting felt like big magic. I started with a set-aside false start from a different day, a start that had all-too-quickly had me crashing up against the rock wall of too-fussy-no-fun. When I returned to that start, the rock wall had changed from a place of impediment to a place that provided the ocean a backboard against which to splash into dazzling spray.

As I painted I found myself in a zone where I was able to capture the feeling of magnificent rock cliffs without getting banged up by the frustration and futility of literal photographic representation. Prior experimentation with blind drawing, linework, color mixing, brush techniques, and oil pastels offered up just the tools I needed to play contentedly, completely lost in the physicality and pleasure of process.

Then I blinked, stepped back, and discovered the lived experience of those rock cliffs captured on a 6x6" square of gessobord.

A little metaphoric metamorphosis right in my studio!

Phyllitic Pyroclastic Playground
6x6", acrylic, ink, and oil pastel on gessobord


  1. Had to look at this up close. Got lost in all those scratchy lines and wonderful colors :)

    1. Glad you had fun getting up close and personal with this little painting, Sheila! This truly was one of those magical paintings where I totally loved the process, even when I felt scared to make a move, and I totally love the outcome.

    2. Me too! Here's to being scared :)