It’s like being the kid in the kindergarten who takes your crayons and fills them in on a chalkboard with a Sharpie marker. You go to school, you show up with your crayons, you come home, you fill the chalkboard with drawings, and then you put it on the wall where people can see it. That’s what a canvas painting is. It’s a way to show people the stuff that is going to take place — the big picture. I like using chalk because I think it really holds your canvas together — you can’t paint with a brush, so you really have to think it out, and then it’s a visual statement. That’s what a canvas painting is.
How long have you had a hand in a painting? I just finished a painting about 25 years ago. This week, I did a painting that I didn’t realize I’d done on purpose until we were finished. It was just a small sketch I came up with. At the time, I had some art students who were just hanging around a lot, and they were the first people I had seen do that. They’d put their sketchbook on the table at the back and say, “Look here, see this here?” Then they’d move the sketchbook around and try it on canvas, so that it would kind of look like a real photo. Then I’d do it for a while so they could see it. And it was just great, I thought the way it was executed was great, it was just a great way to learn something. I’ve gotten so used to looking at it on canvas in my mind at work that I think I have a natural affinity for it. I think I’ve got a pretty good memory for it — it works out pretty well.
It’s pretty rare that you don’t make a statement with a painting, I think, and then maybe put something you like on the wall — like I just did here — but you always make at least one statement. It seems strange to me that it took me 25 years to show a painting at work. The first time I did this I hadn’t worked on a canvas in about four or five months, so I said, “Wow, I have really a good hand here. That’s an interesting and really nice painting.” And that was kind of the point of the work. That’s why I had to leave the paintings up all week — I don’t want people going to work in a place that has just a couple of
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