A New Direction

Painting a day: Kaleidoscope: Silver Bowl

"Kaleidoscope: Silver Bowl"
Oil on panel, 5 x 5 inches (12 x 12 cm)

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Kaleidoscope.
From the Greek: καλός (kalos), "beautiful" + είδος (eidos), "shape" +
σκοπέω (scopeο), "to look at, to examine".
Roughly, “looking at beautiful forms”


This painting represents a big step for me, one that I'm very excited to take.

For some time, I've been taking a fairly standard approach to my still lifes; classically balanced compositions, clearly recognizable objects, unidirectional lighting, etc. Not that there isn't a lot of merit to that approach, but I feel like it's run it's course (for me). For the better part of a year, I've been struggling to find the way forward... to make paintings that are truly my own.

I have no desire to move away from a realist aesthetic - if anything, the opposite is true. At the same time, I have wanted to move away from conventional compositions, and also introduce a random element into the work. Rather than the traditional approach of painstakingly arranging a few items into simple compositions, this new series will go in the exact opposite direction. Large numbers of objects will be placed on the surface, more or less at random. From this field, tightly cropped compositions will be developed, happily relying on chance rather than control.

The title of the series says it all - looking into these fields of randomly arranged objects brilliantly reflecting and refracting the light instantly reminded me of looking into a kaleidoscope. I was further delighted when I discovered the meaning of the Greek roots of the word: "looking at beautiful forms". Perfect.

So this is my way forward. I still have a few in-progress paintings reflecting a more conservative approach. I'll probably show them here, but for the most part, this is how I'll paint for the foreseeable future.

After that... who knows. Change, development, and discovery... that is the best part of being an artist.

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