The next summer I invited myself to return for a week, this time with my oils. I made this little painting near the end of the Burgess’s mile-long driveway on an especially good day, during which I produced several paintings.
During this early phase I was exploring the use of line in conjunction with color areas, a concept that persisted with me and developed over a period of more than ten years. To deny the dominance of line over color boundary, the playful strokes only suggestively track the contours of the shapes of color, as if to insist that the purpose of the line was not simply to outline, but to counterpoint. In later years, when the study of color became preeminent for me, carefully drawn contour lines did define color areas, because I wanted the juxtaposition of bright colors to be taken seriously.
I would have painted more on that trip, but the man of the house disapproved of me and insisted that if I stay there I must help his ranch hands bale and stack oats. (Oats do not like to be baled, and they bolt for freedom at any opportunity.) Fortunately Phillip’s aunt intervened after a couple of days, asserting that painting was my work and that I would be baling no more oats.
About the signature, being called by my middle name was the idea of my stepmother, who disliked the name George because it was “common and ordinary.” For twenty-three years my middle name misrepresented me as a snob and I could never understand why until at age 30 I took back my common and ordinary name and was immediately treated like a regular person. Turning 46 was a milestone for me because at last I had been called by my right name for at least half my life. And much more than half now, thank you, Lord, for my survival!
But enough about me. Please go look at my paintings.