In summer 2017 I went to Italy for 6 weeks to study painting with Israel Hershberg, Yael Scalia, and Susan Jane Walp. Over 100 artists gathered that summer in Civita Castellana, Italy for the Jerusalem Studio School in Civita experience. It was a really transformative time for me. Now, two years later, I can still feel the nutrients from my practice there seeping into my work.
I started this picture a week after I got back from Italy. I went to my dad’s church in rural Alabama and painted the playground there. It was a hot hazy bright sort of day - you could smell the red dirt roasting in the sun.
I set the picture aside for a year or so. I looked at it again and felt bothered by the color relationships. I kept thinking about what painter Beth Bernhardt said in her painting perceptions interview - how does one turn the light on in a picture? When the color relationships are right somehow a switch turns and the sun starts to shine and the earth feels heavy and the sky feels light and expansive.
So I did something I do very rarely and worked from mind and memory. I mixed my colors thinking about the sunlight and the abstract impact of the light on the architecture of the playground. I used the first draft of the painting as a map and made a value structure that felt more convincing to me.
Then I cropped the picture- I love how a change in dimensions can change the game of a picture so rapidly- its very exciting. I thought of Mitchell Johnson’s work- his rooftops and radical fantastic compositions.
I’m looking forward to working more in this way in my journey as a painter. The eye knows what the impact of light looks like. I’m happy to learn to better trust my intuition as well as the motif.