The Howdy Grid

Lately, I’ve been exploring grids. I usually suppress grid tendencies…but, sometimes, you just have to go with the flow of your own rivulet.


Like most people, I am attracted to pattern, its rhythm has a soothing effect on the psyche.

I’m sure making all of these little squares of color over the past 5 years didn’t contribute to my grid predilection.


The grid is an organizational device, a means of compartmentalization, in this case; a shadowbox for memories. So, I’ll speculate that recent grid paintings reflect an ordering, compartmentalizing and organizing of space and time. They also compel association, as in lotto or tic tac toe. You can’t help but draw connections between compartments. Analyzation for its own sake where there are no final conclusions and there is no one place to be. I enjoy being “no-where”, (or maybe everywhere), sometimes somewhere.


A change of scenery really helps get things flowing, so I am lucky to have a get-away up in Colorado where it’s cooler and I can get to work. My “art shack” comes equipped with someone else’s “memorabilia” which I find interesting enough to paint. I’m especially drawn to collections which accumulate over time, some, utilitarian or sentimental, others, not so much, like dust bunnies, flotsam or just shifting light.. Other peoples’ mnemonic devices are attractive,  and,  as I prefer to relinquish my own past “stuff”, a certain satisfaction comes through observing someone else’s “stuff”.

In this post I’m talking about “grid”  paintings of things that are meaningful to me or attractive because they are meaningful to others. And so, here is the story of “Howdy”: (also called, “She Had a Pig Fetish”, ” Repository”, and “Fetish Lotto” to name a few of the working titles.)

(It helped a lot that “Howdy” was juried into the Durango Center for The Arts (DAC) annual show this July. The judge/curator from the University of Albequerque referred to it as “conceptual pop art” for the look of the work….whoa.)

photo 7

We arrive at the Art Shack and take a tour of the area meadow, the boys are pretty excited.


Probably because of this:


Not to worry, the chihuahua is a “bear hunting dog”…so I’m feeling really safe, right?!

Monsoonal patterns affect this part of Colorado, so the cloud views are really spectacular.


Back to the task at hand…The cabin contains a plethora of items, such as this Wonder Woman, tucked away in its nooks and crannies.


I’m excited to try out some new colors so I add these few extras to my palette; cobalt yellow, quinacridone violet, phthalo blue and green, rose madder, mars black…hookers green dark and veronese (emerald) green.


After a few false starts I begin to get a better idea of how I want it to turn out.


This has been here for ages, with worm…ew.



A jar of marbles collected over at least 50 years, funky folk art polka dotted pig…



Jack finds “his”chair and resigns himself to catnaps.


Over the next couple of days I manage to rough each one in. Once I have a little bit of everything I can start to move things around for composition and make some more definitive decisions about color…



Will we ever go for a walk again?! Chihuahua pressure is ruthless.


I decide to neutralize the background and soften some edges to create shallow space, not flat.


And then there is the redwood frame, a complex beast. Each panel slides into a 1/4 inch groove and is suspended independently. This will keep these canvas boards from warping. I am enjoying pairing different woods with these paintings; hickory, cherry, cedar, redwood, teak, maple, mesquite….endless color and textural  possibilities. Solid hard and semi-hard wood, minimally worked, has a timeless feel and is functional, protecting the work.

Now to get it to town by the 2 o’clock deadline and it’s supposed to be DRY (but it’s not…) Better to ask for forgiveness than permission.  Everything always takes more time than expected.

In the case of “Howdy” I almost gave up (at least four times), but I would be pretty sad if I didn’t at least try…and it was worth it!


photo 5

And that is it for the first installment of my secret Summer affair with, the GRID.  I have a few more to share with you. In the meantime all the painter must do is STAY FOCUSED AND NOT GET DISTRACTED… awe…aren’t the little lambs so cute?!


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