Tonight was the 6th session of my Abstract Painting class with Jim Gross at Mark Arts. I left my giant rubbermaid bin full of collage materials at home and reduced my arsenal to a duffel bag full of paint brushes, crayons, colored pencils and tubes of paint. Tonight was all about scribbles and drips. I took a fistful of colored pencils and scribbled all over one of the panels. Seeing Dale Chihuly’s drawings at the Wichita Art Museum planted the idea in my brain. It was really fun to scribble with reckless abandon. When I draw / scribble on my abstract paintings I always strive to draw like a child but my drawings always feels forced or deliberate or dishonest because I am a trained artist trying to mimic the haphazardness of a child. I’ve discovered that it helps to draw without looking at what I am drawing and allow the drawing to be a surprise. The trick is getting your brain out of the way and allowing your hand to do the work. I am really happy with the progress I made tonight.

At one point I took a break and watched Jim Gross paint for a few minutes. The painting Jim was working on had a scrap of wood, a metal jar lid and a shard of glass adhered to the canvas among scraps of old newspapers, paint drips, old masking tape and other paper fragments. The painting is really wonderful. Jim’s work often reminds me that I can be a little rigid and safe and predictable when it comes to how I paint. Jim is really fearless. Any object in the room can become part of the painting or become an instrument for manipulating the paint. Tonight he made Torin Andersen paint with a giant rock and Torin ended up with a great painting and a really colorful rock. Tonight I was reminded that I need to push myself to be more experimental and creative with how I paint.


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