The painting has begun on my 36″ x 36″ canvas. I’m using Liquitex acrylic paints to try to make a vision I beheld visible to the world.
The idea was triggered was a simple conversation. One of my sister-in-laws moved to a town in New Jersey called Forked River. She advised us the correct pronunciation of the first word for the place was actually “For-Ked,” two syllables, which amused me somehow. It seemed so archaic and grandiose.
As I pondered this the image appeared to me-not a little town in New Jersey, but an occurrence in the wilderness of the mind and spirit. The title was “A Tale of the Forked River.” Like many of my paintings, it would depict the mysterious, an experience of the uncompromising power and strangeness of life.
I saw the color scheme of yellows predominating with black and white; ragged pine trees, a stony landscape, a crouching figure inadequately armed. All revolved around the presence of The Great Bear.
I wrote the title and a brief note in a book I keep to document the visions I have. There are dozens of entries in the book. I’ll never live long enough to paint out all the ideas I’ve had, and they just keep coming. Looking back I see I dated this one December 7, 2013-a day that will live in infamy.
It takes me weeks and even months to complete a work of this size. Because I’m an intuitive artist, I kind of have to feel my way through the painting-I don’t do preparatory drawings, I work it out on the canvas, which leads to many problems and corrections. But it also leads to discoveries.
This painting has only been worked on a few times so far. It’s at the phase my wife, painter Michele Bledsoe, refers to as a train wreck. The sky is full of light but the material objects are slow to take form. I’m putting it out there in this tentative and unresolved state to share my painting process.
“A Tale of the Forked River” work in progress