Even the subject matter is repetitive


I have spent a good bit of time thinking about how it is that I paint the same shapes, the same forms, the same compositions over and over and over and over and over again.  (See previous post, which I had frankly forgotten about before I went to post this tonight.)  I don’t do it on purpose - it’s not as though I sit down and plan 20 paintings with the same composition - but the shapes keep finding me.  

Repetition is a theme in my life - I practically wear a uniform (jeans, white or black t-shirt, red shoes), I have eaten the same breakfast every morning for years (2 eggs over a bed of spinach - occasionally I throw in arugula for a thrill), I sit in the same spot at the table, I could go on.  Parameters work for me.  I’m not easily bored, and knowing how certain things will be frees up space in my brain for my curiosity about everything else.  When it comes to painting, then, I guess it’s no surprise that I paint a repetitive story.  I’ve come to understand that addressing a composition over and over again helps me to make sense of things, it helps me to understand what I’m painting and what I’m thinking, it helps me to see. I think of it like tumbling rocks - the way the ocean smooths the stones as they go round and round through the surf.



My friend Christine pointed out the repetitive compositions during a studio visit this summer.  It’s not that I didn’t know this before she said it, but hearing her say it helped me to see it with fresh eyes.  It used to bother me a little - was it boring? - but I have come to appreciate and embrace the repetition, and to recognize that this is the way I understand the world.  This is the way I tell the story.