I had a friend in graduate school, Bob, whom I had met in 1988 at the Vermont Studio Center (it was still known as the "Vermont Studio School" back then). I was living in DC at the time and interning at the National Museum of Women in the Arts and spinning my wheels making art on the side, raising a puppy and sinking into my first heavily languid Washington summer. A co-worker friend and MFA student Nica (who later went on to become a writer), brought me to a visiting artist lecture at American University and there it was that I became reacquainted with my long lost friend Bob! It had been a few years. They convinced me to apply to the program and the following fall, there I was. Bob was fun to go with to look at art. First of all he would surreptitiously try to touch the impasto paint on so many works of art. Who could blame him- paint is seductive and it begs to be touched, just not while the guards are looking. But back in the studio during our group crits Bob would unabashedly touch the paint on our often wet canvases, sheepishly wipe his colored finger on his pants, and proceed to remark on composition, color and form.
I can still hear Bob's comments in my head:
"Its how the paint gets on the canvas."
"Neutral color, neutral color, pure color."
Fast forward to this fall, I am revisiting color theory up here in Maine, working with a local painter, Kris Engmann. I am starting over, from the beginning with lots of homework, painting my own color wheel, doing value studies and asking myself, what is the light condition in this painting. It is throwing a wrench into my studio practice. But I think things will settle out. They better because I am on deadline to finish up some pieces by the end of the year.