During the spring of 2002, I began a discussion with a friend, an author,
Pauline Masurel (Maz), who lives in England, concerning a possible project on which
we could collaborate. As the discussion continued, Richard Ryan came to
Massart as a visiting artist. As part of his talk,
he mentioned that when he left a Yale teaching position, he spent a year
painting one painting a day. The idea struck me and I mentioned it to my friend
saying that I would like to try working that way for an extended period of time.
As we talked she wondered, aloud, if she could write from the paintings.
And that led to the project which we called Vitalize.
The project involved me producing a painting every day I was in
the studio which worked out to 4 paintings a week. At the end of each day,
I took a digital photo of the painting and emailed it to Maz. She then
looked at the painting, wrote approximately 1,000 words about it
(not a strict limit) and emailed that to me. I then read what she wrote
and considered that as I made the next day's painting. Sometimes there was a
reference in the writing to a specific pictorial situation, other times I tried to respond
to the mood, however, there was no requirement, for either of us to narrate
or illustrate the other's work. This process of image, writing, image,
writing resulted in a large body of work in both media.
My personal goals for the project, besides producing the body of work,
centered mainly about the process of painting. Specifically, my process.
Learning to trust it, refining it, and using it to find out how it is I paint.
It was my hope that the project and the impetus it provided to work quickly
and intensely, would result in a way of painting that is "my painting".
Sort of like the automatic writing of the surrealists or the beat writers.
To approach a blank canvas everyday with, at best, a slim idea of what I would
be painting and attempting to produce a credible painting , hopefully,
resulted in work that is authentically mine.