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January 2023

I paint in my bedroom. I could say that I sleep in my studio. Often I throw myself on my bed as I look at what I have done. Sometimes the view from the bed causes me to turn the painting on its side, which opens up a very different interaction with the painting, and leads to a very different outcome. Sometimes I get paint on the sheets and I spend the next half hour cleaning.

One rainy day in Phoenix, which is a bit of an oxymoron, I was thinking about my painting. I was actually thinking about how I think about my paintings. I was thinking about how I organize my mind in order to paint; because, when I am about to paint, I actually do not have any knowing organization in my mind. I think about how I feel and almost out of nowhere my experience seems to organize into a color on my canvas and then into a form.

Never knowing what I will paint before I paint, I just experience the need to do it, and I’m glad of that because it’s the randomness of feelings or thoughts of all things happening around me that end up on my canvas.

It is the complexity of my mind that I paint. It is what develops in my mind, in my emotions, that gets randomly organized and presents itself to me through my brush, palette knife, fingers on my canvas.

As an abstract artist (and I prefer to describe myself as a person who endeavors to express his internal experience on a canvas using paint, brush, etc.; not an easy way to present myself). Since I am an organized person in my work as a therapist and in my living space, it has been an ongoing challenge to allow the expansion of myself beyond the borders of my tendency to systematize.

I seek to visually order my mixed emotional states while maintaining the sense of non-order. It is a confusing and disturbing state of uncertainty (Some would say hovering around the ‘tipping point’ always poised for change. In math and physics the tipping point is a trajectory that reorganizes itself and proceeds on a new path. This reorganization is described as spontaneous, discontinuous and unpredictable.)

My paintings may be art or maybe it’s just me on the day that I painted my complex inner world on a particular canvas; unplanned, unanticipated, unpredicted, unforeseen and surprising.

In addition, the process of making another mark on the canvas is often full of anguish. Since there are no guidelines, no spaces neatly defined, the possibilities being endless, creates a decision that can be fraught with anxiety.

George Hagman, artist, psychoanalyst, writer states …“welcome the disorganization of self experience in the interests of creating new opportunities for growth.”

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