Artist Statement for Studio Event, June 2011
I picked the title, Offhand, for this series of pen and inks in reference to ‘offhand remark’ because many of the comments are of the judgmental sort that people toss about. I also liked it as a label for the creative process of this series because offhand is defined as ‘without preliminary deliberation or preparation’.
The ladders are all portraits- not physical likenesses but verbal ones: “that sounds like something she would say”. Double portraits really: of the person making the remark and of the person about or to whom the remark is levied. By default, several of them are self-portraits; and in all I am a judgmental observer.
This series started with a small ledger book inscribed ‘George Pond Claremont N. Hamph Jan 21st 1863’. The first few pages are an accounting record of a tailor’s business. The writing is florid and done in brown ink and pencil. My first entries were timid- I was worried about ruining it with second-rate sketches which would have to be cut out of the binding. Then I realized the paper takes ink beautifully. I was surprised the ladder images just kept coming one after the other. Initially, I did a quick sketch in the book to nail the perspective. I kept trying to duplicate the look of the sketchbook and I realized that in the process of hammering out the perspective I was capturing a multitude of lines and that was missing from the initial full-scale paintings, so about half way through I quit working out the ideas in the sketchbook. The brown ink is made of ground walnut shells and I adore it for the way it maneuvers on the paper. The ledger book is leather bound and can be found on the cabinet near the French doors.