It`s here with the full entourage of radiant temporary color. Beauty so insistent, it stops the machine of my thinking. Interrupts my worry with a blinding golden light. Maybe things will be ok? For today, yes is the answer. Lucky Oregon! Autumn and Spring defy memory. Each time they arrive it seems it has never been so sublime. What did I do to deserve this again? My favorite part is still to come. When the transplanted trees from elsewhere flame out, the natives have their moment. Not as overwhelming as the others but so poignant, the yellows and pinks against the muddy rivers flowing fast again with the rain. It`s great and I suspect it`s good everywhere, right? We all love Fall.
Thank you to those who visited my studio this month during the Portland Open Studios! It was a very successful event by all accounts. Such a social and radical shift from the solitude of painting! I don`t think I will ever stop being amazed that a total stranger will talk knowingly about what I do. In my process, doubt is nearly always present, but not during open studios! Thank you to anyone who looks at my work thoughtfully. That`s exactly what I want yet so rarely see for myself.
Last weekend I went to see Betsy Chang. She`s an acquaintance I met a few years ago through this blog. She was working in watercolor and we were both interested in Georgia O`keefe`s watercolor paper from the early 20th century. To me, those fresh abstract landscapes were the best work of O`keefe`s life. I`ve been following Betsy`s work on Instagram ever since. Abruptly her course changed to pure abstraction in oils and acrylics and this made me curious. There is something special and unique to her touch, the way she moves a brush. I can see something original by her marks. I think it might have been apparent even in her childhood. Talent is often demoted to just one of many characteristics in an artists life, and I mostly agree. However we`ve all known people with very particular gifts. The abilities show up early and often overtake the lives of young people.
So I asked if I could see what she had been working on. Since we had been in touch, she also had a baby, born during this frightening, confusing time. Her studio was absolutely crammed with work everywhere. Big stacks of watercolors on all level surfaces. I thought my god, she`s done all of this while caring for an infant, working a full time job and coping with a global pandemic! I could tell it was stressful to be sure, but I was impressed by the obsession. She had to make those paintings, that`s who she is. Without attention, sales or a gallery, she just made her paintings. I admire this so much. Even if choice isn`t a factor, whatever is moving through her, I think it`s holy.