It happens this time of year, but it feels stronger this year than the last couple. I feel real homesick for familiar faces and places, and southern air. That sounds so strange even saying that. I live in the most ideal climate all year long, but right now I wish for a little bit of heat and humidity in the air. Southeast regions haven't reached the place in summer when all my friends and family back south can't handle the heat, so that makes me idealize in my mind what is happening back there.
This painting was inspired by a southern thunderstorm. I titled it Arkansas Thunderstorm. I grew up in the Ozarks and by no means does this look like the Oazrks, but I painted ideas of thunderstorms that I remember in the summer. I long for those right now. It barley ever rains in Southern California. Some days here, in the summer especially, it looks like it could rain when you wake up. That eventually burns off and its sunny. Im not complaining about this perfect weather, just missing familiar places. So, with this painting, I took a little bit of a different approach. I wanted to break it down, brea, brea, break it down. Wow! Waaaayyyyy, too much Yo Gabba Gabba!! Really, all I seem to reference are kids shows. I need to read more! Anyways, I wanted to focus on shape, color, and texture. I do that in most of my paintings, but I want the shapes to stay more uniformed and crisp in this painting . There is an underlying folk art mixed with modern design that is coming out in this piece. With most of my work, not all, but most there are underlying thoughts and emotions that I want expressed. I think that if we got into a conversaton about what a piece that I paint means, you might be able to pick up on the undertones of the abstract. I love the sublime of an abstract. So much mystery behind a piece.
This piece doesn't offer the biggest bang of sublime. I mean, you can kind of gather that the idea is a landscape. I have been longing for an Arkansas thunderstorm, that is why I painted this, but hell, I have been feeling like an Arkansas thunderstorm lately, don't want nobody trying to paint my mood, it's been a thunderstorm lately, wretched!!! What I have been thinking about in those storms in the summer are the colors. The brightness of the summer foliage, bright crisps greens in contrast with dark skys. It makes the bright colors of summer even brighter. I mean isn't color just amazing. I was yapping to a group of middle schoolers that I teach about how brilliant color theory is and how there are classes just on color and how to manipulate color. It's mind blowing to me. Back to what I miss about a southern storm. Of course what I mentioned before, the contrast in colors of stormy skys to bright grounds. I also thought about wildflowers that grow in the summer. It just is amazing. All these things I overlooked and didn't appreciate while I lived back south. Daytime storms can be extra intriguing. The sun can be shining and it can be storming like mad. My grandmother would call that "the devil's beatin' his wife with a fryin' pan" what does that mean? I still don't know. There could be regions of a storm, especially while driving, where it could be raining big drops of rain, it stops, then it pours. This piece is painted thick, thicker than most of my others. I draw into the paint more than others, to create pattern and texture. Now, can I please tell you what I miss most right now about summers in the south.
My folks have some land with two cabins smack in the midst of the Ozarks. Its a place where our whole family loves to be. There is not much to do out there, but thats what we love most. Once we turn onto that dirt road, there is a sense of ease that comes about. For one, none of our phones work out there, we can detach! The smell of grass and mud in the summer air is the best! I don't smell grass out here in California, we don't have grass. The days where you stay dirty and sweaty all day. We go to the river to cool off, you sit in a lawn chairs, in the river as a matter of fact. We shoot bb guns and sling shots at tin cans for fun. We swing in hammocks and play in tree houses. We drive motorized vehicles for fun that are meant for utility. The kids drive these too, although not legal age, whatever. We cook out side and catch lighting bugs. We listen to frogs. On the days we are at the farm and we go into town. The Dollar Store is a fun treat. Especially if we forgot some clothes, its a trip what we can find to wear at the Dollar Store! We go to the candy store that has a taffy machine in the window that I was mesmerized with as a kid, its still there, still mesmerizing and you hear fiddles playing on the square every time, so nice. In fact, coming back to the farm after going to the candy store, with intentional taffy picked out for a given person is the utmost sign of affection. That place is awesome. I miss it. Man, I can smell summer now in the Ozarks, love it.
The place is made by the people and the memories, those are some good people. I love my family and friends so much. I love that place, especially this time of year. Such a special, simple place.