This painting is an absolute break from my pattern of work. I think this is why I am so attracted to it. Clearly, I understand if someone viewing it sees a Pollock influence here but that was not the intention starting out. I like Pollock’s work don’t get me wrong, but I never look at his work and feel inspired like I do with a Frankenthaler, Newman or a Rothko. No, this piece is sort of a happy accident.
You see when I begin the process of painting I typically start with these little tube acrylics that fit in the palm of your hand and begin dripping them all over the blank canvas. From there, I normally take a drywall tool and start to spread the dripped paint all over the canvas. I will continue this repeatedly layering in all different directions until the canvas is full of color. It is then that something will start to speak to me, the emergence of various color fields. Nevertheless, lets go back to the beginning. When I start putting down those original drips, I do so randomly, yet sometimes I am taken aback by what sits there. I become hesitant to spread the colors around because I like what is there, no matter how minimalist it looks. All the same, I eventually give in and spread the color around. However, recently I was toying with one of my daughter’s little canvases and I thought about experimenting with keeping the drips in place, yet making a composition that I don’t feel is so much a rip-off of Pollock, something that is originally me.
That experiment worked out well. I loved that little end product, so I decided to attempt in a larger canvas. This piece is 36×24”. There are three principle colors represented in the drips, red, white, and blue. I always like to work in threes. I find peace in three. I am not religious, so I am not connecting this to the holy trinity. I would say I am somewhat spiritual, and so the idea that three represents harmony, wisdom, and understanding works for me. Let’s take that further. Notice that the lines are largely chaotic. Well, I would say that suggests at the time of this paintings creation, this idea of harmony, wisdom, and understanding was not in sync for me. I completed this work in late November of 2016, and winters are always a real bitch for me mentally.
Still, I wasn’t comfortable allowing these drips to sit there all alone. Regardless of how discordant winters make me feel, I strongly believe that my constitution is one of composure. I believe that is why I was compelled to add that blue strip to this painting. It reflects a maintenance of balance in the face of my harmony, wisdom, and understanding be at times inconsistent. Never off the deep end, never completely out of control, FOUNDATION. The added joint compound to the horizontal line I can only imagine represents a balance that is not perfect, but remains present. I added a coat of red mahogany wood stain over the canvas to darken the tone of the composition. The untouched parts of the canvas were too bright white for me to feel comfortable, but if you look closely, you can still see places that were purposely untouched. I wanted to have some brightness remain.
Kent Bausman Ph.D.