Last spring I spent several weeks as an artist-in-residence at A.I.R. Vallauris in the south of France. Before going I had two notions about how I wanted to use my time. One was that I wanted to experiment, respond to the moment and not plan everything out. The other thought was that I wanted to look at Goya’s paintings and see if there was a way I could distil their essence into something abstract. I had not thought that I would do these two things together.
The last time I was a resident at A.I.R Vallauris in 2008, I left a box of materials, so I decided not to take any materials with me and to just make do. When I opened the box I had plenty of paint, some brushes, and several pieces of 300 lb Fabriano watercolor paper. But what really excited me, was the box itself. It sat in a dry shed for eight years. The cardboard was soft and no longer had much structural strength. One side was white. I tore off one of the flaps and started painting.
Since Goya was already on my mind, I started by loosely painting one of his portraits with black ink. Then I switched to oil paint. The soft cardboard yielded under my brush. The un-even torn edges made a beautiful deckle around the piece. When I painted Goya’s, “The Dog” I liked how the creases in the cardboard interacted with the image.
All the pieces are small, averaging 4 inches x 2 inches. In the end, I branched out to include the back of a tuna box and a crushed can that I found in a parking lot.