Art is always changing, and our response to these changes is a portrait of what we do with evolution. In October of 2019, at the end of a workshop, I laid out a grid of 30 rectangles with the intension of making arbitrary marks inside each box. When dry, I covered each arrangement of gestural marks with a semi-opaque layer of white gesso.
“Marks of Life” 30″ x 22″ arches rag pape
The experiment continues by changing abstract shapes into recognizable figures, but never images of people I know. By not having the limitation of visual accuracy, I could paint with the same freedom I used in the “Marks of Life”.
“The Crowd, the Crowd” 30″ x 22″ d”arches rag paper
Back to the nonrepresentational compositions that initiated this journey. By now, the need for transparency is unnecessary because I am just making shapes and marks with the paint. Occasionally a face will appear; while this is not my intension to combine abstractions and figures, I do not mind the intrusion.
“Letters, Numbers, Figures” 22″ x 30″ d’Arches rag paper
By now, I am feeling confident and free to explore other avenues of mark-making. “Orange Corks” is the first in this series done on canvas. While not true, I must admit to loving the feel of applying paint to canvas.
“Orange Corkscrew” acrylic on canvas 36″ x 36″
Size is a variable that dictates new changes. The marks have to be proportionte to the size of the field; this requires a larger space in which to work, bigger brushes, more paint, and, most importantly, enjoying all the aforenamed changes.
“Faces and Figures Unite” 48″ x 48″ acrylic on hardboard
An artist can rarely forget about form (you know, those design things), but by repetition, there comes a time when the form is not so pervasive in the decision making process.
“Quiet Intrusions” acrylic on canvas 36″ x 36″
“Quiet Intrusions” is anything but quiet or intrusive. This painting represents the high-water mark in this series. As is usual these images spring forth unannounced but are always welcome.
“Victorian House” by Skip Lawrence 48″ x 32″ acrylic on canvas
Many people refer to my recent work as “abstract.” I believe that these images are more real than those that are more representations. These paintings are born of my emotional attachment to the history of every mark, color, texture, and shape I use to make a picture. Abstracted lines, gestures, and colors are portraits of my life as a painter. Collected over many years of staring at a canvas and creating a shorthand vocabulary that depicts my fears, loves experiences, values, interpersonal relationships, religious beliefs, wins, and failures. The objects we can see may provide subject matter, but there is a definite creative limitation as to how creative we can be while being constrained by perceived facts. We may be excited about that old victorian home on the corner, but our emotional response to that object goes far beyond the doors and windows. For some, the house evokes love, and for others, it creates fear. Who we are as a person/artist is the result of all the things we casually call abstractions – these are the real things of life and the best we can offer to others.
White, Bar and Pink by Skip Lawrence 48″ x 32″ acrylic on canvas
If this approach interest you, go to www.skiplawrence.com to see my workshop schedule and galleries exhibiting my work.
I love everything about painting. I love feeling the paint, seeing a rich color spread under my brush onto a surface, and the play between colors coming together. I love watching my idea take form until a painting finally says “it” and I am surprised and delighted every time. I love sharing my art and knowing that someone is moved by it.