I love it the feeling of producing a painting that I know is going to be the start of a series! Here’s a painting that I completed in late November, entitled “PortTown 1” (mixed media on canvas, 28”x22”, $1340, available at time of posting).
I have lived near ports in many cities. I’ve walked, photographed, and sketched them over many years. When I found myself temporarily located in a studio with a large window overlooking the Port of Vancouver and I knew it was time to start painting them.
The shapes and shadows of port structures intrique me. I love the juxtapostion of worn organic and mechanical angular shapes, and the patina of old materials long exposed to the elements.
The Port is the territorial line where city meets waterway. City and Water constantly vie for supremacy. Humans continue to push and pull this edge influenced by industry, wealth, national security, prestige, and panoramic vistas.
I love the secrecy of ports: the mystery of the workings housed in these structures, and the difficulty or inability to get close to them. My imagination wonders about the spaces hidden in the silos, conveyors, and other buildings. I thrill and cower at stories of espionage, industrial barons, and corruption. People and things go missing in ports. Ports are a place of beginnings and endings: the demarcation between land and ocean, people leaving loved ones behind or stepping out into the brave unknown.
I have started to explore and evoke these ideas using drawn mark, painting, collage, and photo transfer. Soft, organic drawn marks and smudges contrast with sharp edged cutouts and photo transfers. Veils of paint or markmaking obscure definition. I’m excited to see how this develops!
How do you know something is a seminal piece as opposed to just a painting you love?
The ‘aha’ moment of recognition tells me this piece contains key elements that capture something of deep interest to me, and which excite me so much that I look forward to spending substantial enjoyable time making more work in a similar vein. I like to keep these seminal pieces around, at least until I am well into the ensuing series. They are an energetic key that helps me access the ideas and techniques so I can create new work in the same vein.