I have a show coming up the first weekend in March in Monterery at Lilify. For the past two months, I've been working on new pieces for the show. Six of them will be new works on paper using only natural elements created on site in varying locations around Napa Valley. The show is titled Points on Time and the work deals with locational identity, the mapping of time, and my wrestling with my current place and surroundings.
This is my first attempt at working outside with only natural materials. I take grass and put it into a small bowl and grind it into a green liquid with a pestle. I try using a paintbrush initially to apply the pigment, but don't like what I am getting. I decide to use the grass directly as a brush and the results are more natural and accidental.
After applying the first pigment, I pick up some mud and dirt buried under the grass and mix it with the grass. This mixture is applied directly to the paper and green pigment is added to the composition in spots.
Adding the green pigment back in creates some interesting lines and textures that represent what I'm looking at. The experience of struggling with the materials – finding them, physically grinding them and then applying them with my hands is very tactile and the process speaks to the struggle of me dealing physically with this place and land.
It is late in the afternoon and the sun is going down. It's getting dark and I'm getting cold. My hands are freezing and dirty. The light is changing rapidly as I wait for the paper to dry. It's going to be a while and there's an element of patience built in where I can't rush the process. I have to let the materials function as they are supposed to without my interference. It occurs to me that I have applied too much liquid pigment to the paper and there is no way it will dry in time. I realize I am going to have to attempt to carry the work about 3/4 of a mile to the car or I will be out here until 9pm.
Unfortunately, the transportation of the piece over hills and down trails caused the delicate pigments to shift and blur and now the piece is a muddy wash. I'm not sure I was going to be able to use this anyway, but it is now officially a study. Chalk it up to experience.