Late last year, I had a creative awakening that started when I placed a black swath of acrylic paint on white paper, which I quickly developed into a figure with auburn hair. I called this piece "Upon Closer Inspection" and it led me to create several other paintings in this series. As an artist friend said when she viewed the painting, "it's about what ISN'T there--the space around the figure is just as important as the figure itself." That's it exactly. It is easy to embellish and add more paint to a painting until we deem it finished, but it is much harder to show restraint from the get-go and let the sparseness of the neutral colors do the work for us. Less is definitely more in the case of these recent paintings (including my "Dispossessed" series, and my more recent "Keep Your Cool" series). In each of these paintings, I use a limited palette of neutral grey/black/white/sepia colors and I let the white of the paper show through (a rarity in most of my other paintings).
Something unexpected and exciting happened to me in September--my painting "Upon Closer Inspection #1" won First Place in the Rocky Mountain Watermedia Exhibit in Evergreen, CO. The juror, Linda Daly Baker, announced the awards in a live ZOOM meeting. I was floored that this simple, elegant painting stood out among the 65 colorful, skillfully executed paintings by nationally recognized artists. Maybe less really is more.