Creative research is the backbone of my art making practice. It is the place I turn to when there is limited time, something passes my glance and needs to be captured, or a new combination of idea + material nags to be made visual. There are concepts that pass by as singular expressions and others that have a special kind of energy that want to be explored through iteration -- different takes on the same theme. Process rules the day and practice offers a plethora of discoveries.
In 2022 I began working with a 5.25" x 5.25" square drawn on all my sketchbook pages. There were several reasons for this. 1. It broke the rigidity of the standard 9" x 12" rectangular page. 2. It provided a specific shape to work within or push beyond. 3. It focused my attention and energy. 4. It made me more sensitive to visual composition and the alchemy of materials.
I refer to these square format sketchbook explorations as environments, physical spaces that morph and change as a mishmash of materials interact with each other. Combinations of Ink, watercolor, gesso, marker, gouache, color pencil, and graphite along with paper collage and found objects fuse in a variety of ways related to natural forces and phenomena. These subjects include constellations, murmurations, emanations, and germinations -- ideas that examine the complexities and mysteries of the physical world.
As 2023 gets underway, sketchbook work remains a driving force behind other works beyond the sketchbook that explore the wildness inherent in nature, the urban environment, and the studio. The Dunes Restoration project on Lake Michigan, the worn and weathered urban ephemera found on my daily walks, and the spirited interaction with traditional and unconventional art materials all provide sustenance and inspiration for a steady stream of creative discovery.