This month, I've spent a lot of time re-thinking how to explain my work. Though I often find writing about painting difficult, I've realized that it's really beneficial as it creates a more balanced studio practice. The more I write and search for the accurate words to depict painting; the more I get at something else I'm craving in the actual process of making. Writing has allowed me time to reflect on my process that is rather fast and in the moment. I decided to write a short essay describing recent paintings to see how this statement will then motivate my studio practice in the coming months.
I travel seeking stories of all kinds—stories behind people, places, sound, and nature—and bring them home to my Oakland studio to create an interpretation. Each of us sees the world differently through a screen of personal experiences. I choose to communicate my interpretations through layers of overlapping paint, expressing moments at every seam, edge, and line. Each mark represents my language of dynamic motion, allowing compositions to read like handwriting—from one side to another.
Working primarily with paint and non-traditional materials, my recent work is a reflection of travels in nature. I spend time collecting moments from wooded areas, agitated rivers, and panoramic views of the ocean and convey them through medium washes and emphatic marks. Color is used like punctuation—as a means to control the energy and direct the eye. My process demands motion, requiring the entire body, not just the hand. I’m pouring and manipulating paint into its own current, using a range of motions. Each painting ultimately seeks to balance the progression of growth and upkeep found in both nature and the act of painting.
Here's a glimpse at the rest of the larger works on paper I created while traveling from San Francisco to the East Coast. Most of the paintings started on the trip and then were completed in my work space in Oakland. This process brought a lot of positive energy back to the studio that I will continue to use while making new work. The 22" x 30" is my favorite size to work with. I started using this composition in 2012 and I've since made over 200 paintings. I view them as large sketchbook pages. Since I generally work so large, they are a great way for me to experiment with the mark with out being too committed to stretching and preparing a large canvas.
Images and paintings by Heather Day.
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