When I think about whether something is prepared, I necessarily end up thinking "prepared for what?" There is a directionality to preparation. To ready the surface of this painting, I applied matte acrylic gesso to Pescia cotton printmaking paper. This application was a reflection of my intention. I meant the paper to be a suitable surface for pastel painting. By applying matte gesso, I created a surface that was receptive to the medium to come, namely pastel. The surface is prepared for an end. I see in painting an important principle, that of intentionality. When I pause and think, the theme of intentionality emerges from the painting process as a reminder of a general approach I should have toward my various activities.
I prepared a sheet by tearing it down to size so I could again prepare the surface with acrylic in order to present enough "tooth" to the pastel to come, which is part of an aesthetic preparation and composition intended for a viewer. But first intended to be an arena for my own exploration of geological and floral accident and contingency. Increasingly apparent now are the layers and levels and objects of preparation in any aesthetic endeavor. Intention within intention. Ends and means and means to ends.
This picture served the end of drawing practice, that of color experimentation/trial and error, the end of producing a body of work that coheres. This painting has built into it the dual and conflicting intentions of remaining in my possession, while being available for acquisition by another. I intend this scene to impress, move and depict accurately some fraction of topography enlivened by photons, galvanized by green and gold geography.
In intend that you are intentional. Attend to that which you intend.
In the last year I've drawn my hand several times. Each time, I've used the experience to attempt deeper access to the emotions, thoughts and relations to others associated with the gesture before me. In the charcoal above I've revisited a pose I first explored on the left. My goal was to engage with the idea of welcome or receptivity and how we bring about this mood or state of affairs though the configuration of our hands. I'm more and more aware recently of the power of our posture. Our hands comprise so much of or capacity to care, create and configure our world. Our hands communicate our intentions, attitudes and settled tones with respect to others. Like words, gestures bring about states of affairs and I want to be sensitive to how I use them to the betterment of others. As I drew the charcoal above, I found myself overcome with the darkness and despair of certain situations, especially the death of certain important people in my life. I found peace and reassurance in knowing that there is One who enters into our struggles and extends his hand so that we might endure the darkness and emerge into light. By drawing I can fix into an image something profound, I can embed the fleeting into the figures.
J0hn Hunter Speier
Recent work, and explorations of techniques, aesthetics and poetics.