Continuing with Day by Day in the Studio, a project of posting works done on the same summer day different years:
July 14, 1976
My principal material in the mid-70s was handmade Japanese rice paper, much of it purchased from a special trove at an art supply store in the Village named for its irascible and eccentric owner David Davis, who, the first time I went into the store, when I was going to college at NYU a block or two up from the store, then on LaGuardia Place, threw me out because I was just looking at sketchbooks and not buying anything. The paper was often extremely delicate and also surprisingly strong, and for both characteristics at the time it seemed like a perfect metaphor for self. I rarely left the paper in its natural state, using medium, mostly Japan Gold Size, to make the paper translucent so that my handwriting could be seen through the back of the paper. It also gave much of the work a parchment-like, ochre tinge that people interpreted often critically as looking deliberately aged, which wasn’t my intention although I may have been partial to the color or, rather, the discoloration. But occasionally I left the paper alone, without using any medium or pigment as in this fan from July 14, 1976, seen from “front” and “back”
July 14, 1983
I continued to work with and on rice paper into the early 80s, looking to landscape for forms that were related to the way I had depicted or referred to the figure, and also related to the graphic elements of my handwriting as form. After first doing these nature-based figures freehand I turned to making stencils. This work was part of a series of vertically oriented works which represented the life under the surface of the sea, in a format similar to the kind of posters of the fish in the sea you’d see hung behind the counter in fish markets on Cape Cod. The overall title of the group of six works was Creatures of the Northern Ocean.
July 14, 2012
I started using rolls of tinted tracing paper sometime in the late 90s. The many drawings I do on this very contingent material (much more perishable than rice paper though so far so good with careful handling) are also worked from back and front as I did in the earlier works on rice paper. The paper offers a useful space for thinking out loud for paintings, responding quickly to ideas from readings, and diagramming my emotional or polemic position at any given moment.