Picasso: “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”
Helen Frankenthaler made up the technique I use in my Horizon Series, non-traditional oil paintings depicting the horizon at sunrise, midday and sunset. In the 1950s, Frankenthaler poured on untreated canvas with diluted paint. Morris Louis knew her and openly stole. Louis poured vivid color very precisely; Frankenthaler let it happen. I do a bit of both, but ultimately, my work is nothing like the work of the great Frankenthaler and Louis.
My paintings are layered, built upon, while their work presents color “fields” or separate strips of pure color. And my work is not as purely abstract.
My work is messy. I set up an outdoor studio to work on these paintings. There, I have the room to toss the large canvases around and the freedom to allow the paint to run and splatter. I have the trees to hold the drying paintings like easels and the slope of the ground and gravity to replace the brush by pulling the paint where it needs to go.
And I am a bit closer to the painting subject.
Part of the fun (and frustration) of doing these paintings is that they finish themselves after I walk away from their canvases. Before drying, the paint continues to migrate; shapes and colors change. Sometimes magic happens -- the sun seems to be peeking just above the water at the horizon line.
I think it’s only right that a series depicting the horizon should have an element of the fleeting here-and-gone beauty of a sunset; that it should happen as if by chance.