So here we are in the last week of the residency. I am ready to start a new painting and plan to explore “Where’s the Party?”. This is another collaborative image of Yana’s and mine. This will be the sister painting to “Mapping Manhattan Revisited”, done in a similar way in order to observe the differences in process and outcome. I will start by projecting the image on a 36” X 36” wooden cradle, redrawing the image in graphite, then painting directly onto the wood with an array of bright inks in order to recreate the pattern. I will continue posting the results of this project and others on my personal blog, darcyelisejohnson.com .
I have come to enjoy painting when there is a procedure to follow even though I will always produce some artwork that is spontaneous, expressive and unpredictable. It is wonderful to lose myself in an abstract image but there are times when this process of making art ends up in a mess of chaotic ideas. Even so, the mess yields its own wisdom and provides a pathway forward. (See Image #3) A structured method pushes my creativity in a different way than the more intuitive paintings and drawings. It provides a framework that holds me in and anchors me to the image. I am able to compare the results of a particular process over a number of artworks and gain valuable insights. I can play inside the boundaries I have set up for myself when I use a planned, stepwise method and discover the consistencies and anomalies in the results
I have often thought that part of my attraction to science is the structure it provides for new and more complex insights. Scientific thinking gives us a roadmap within which our imagination can act. It is a bit like fleshing out a storyline. The important revelations are in the details. Scientific methodology keeps us focused, organized and withholds judgment until the results are in. Then we bring our intellect and creativity to the results which at the very least, point towards the next step.
There is another aspect of scientific thinking that I deeply value in my work as an artist. I glean ideas from the rich world of nature and try to understand them through art. I am doing art to study and understand both myself and the world and a rational method keeps me from spinning off the edge of the world in a flurry of colour and emotion. My two halves are always informing each other, the artist saying come on let’s play in the beautiful world and the scientist saying, well, let’s make this playfulness lead us to a richer place because we are bigger and stronger together.