Clouds on the Horizon

Overcast winter day in Los Angeles, and the light on the kitchen table— my preferred place to work— is an ashy gray. Surprisingly, it is a quality of midday light that works well for the linoleum carver, since it illuminates paper softly, and it doesn’t throws no harsh angular shadows that sully my view of the block. Pencil marks layered with more insistent marks with a permanent pen lay tangled on the grey surface, but its just enough for me to see my way.

When I was on the road with the Steinbeck Center team and other artists, every waking day was absolutely electric with possibility, every glimpse out the passing window of our RV a running scroll of visual experience. Three months later, in my everyday life, the challenge now is to sift through the journey and find out where the eye of one’s memory lingers.

At times, there are two lines of inquiry in my memory working side by side. One is of images conjured up from Steinbeck’s prose; the other is a continuation of the trip we experienced in person. Although I am a very literary artist (meaning that I draw a tremendous amount of inspiration and energy through the written word), I occasionally explain to others that my process of creating artwork is by thinking through my hands. In order to create compelling visual work, I have to follow a hunch of something with potential physically, on the page, with my pencil, xacto blades, carving tools, through the ink and the paper. What blooms within the drawings is a matter of balancing the vibrancy of the lines, what begs for color, the wit of the image’s metaphors.

With some luck and continued persistence, I’m hoping that the resulting series of prints will encapsulate some of the sheer, absurd power of the human condition that is experienced in the pages of “The Grapes of Wrath”, and then again, the blunt and immediate moment you step outside into the real world.