Jim's Thoughts

I get asked all the time what are my paintings "of"?  Well heck, I don't know.  I don't like labels, but the closest handle you could put on my work is probably "abstract expressionism" (whatever that is), and it still wouldn't be quite right either (sort of like the art?).  I just start painting, and let something respond in me to the line, shape, color, and such; guided by what training, knowledge, and experience I have.

Sometimes I think of myself painting a process, like electricity or some microscopic biological process, rather than an object.  I like painting abstractly for several reasons.  For one, I don't see the point in painting something that you already know what it's going to look like (at least in some sort of general way if it's representative in any manner).  I love the development; the unfolding of the work as you go along, that can (and often does) take you to places you would not have thought to go to (or indeed, even knew existed) by working at "representing" something.

For another, working in a purely abstract manner allows you to more fully explore the work without the restrictions of representation.  You are free to try anything ... any shape, color, whatever you can think of ... because you don't know what you're painting anyway.  I guess I appreciate the duality of it.  The intellectualism of the "abstract" part, and the feeling and basic emotionalism of the "expressionism" part.

In some ways, my paintings are like those Rorschach tests that the psycho-babble folks are fond of. They reveal more about yourself than any content inherent in them.

A note on titles.  I hate titles.  Titles may be good for cataloging and identification, but they are also extremely limiting. They immediately start steering the mind as to "what" the painting depicts and how it should be experienced.  I only give these things titles because, as you know, when you have a file on a computer, you have to give it some kind of a distinctive name.  I name them early in the process (need a name by the first save to disk), and they can and do often change dramatically from the first efforts.  So don't put too much (read any) emphasis on a painting's title.  It generally signifies nothing.  The experience is visual, not textual.