Homage to Diebenkorn

the narrow gate 36x36 1
The Narrow Gate
36 x 36

Inspiration dawns in the most unusual of places. It is everywhere, in everything waiting for that moment to connect. Sometimes I don’t even realize I am being inspired. It is not until someone, somewhere, views my work and with a simple observation gives me a glimpse of what lies beyond my knowing; inviting me into a new artworld to explore. And in this way, my work evolves. I learn, I discover. Paradoxically, as my work becomes deep and complex it becomes more simple.

Recently, one of my collectors mused, “Your work reminds me of Diebenkorn.” And with that hint of inspiration, I began to explore.

Richard Diebenkorn was a California painter who came to define the California school of Abstract Expressionism during the early 1950s through the 1960s. His version of Abstract Expressionism became an important counterpart to the more well-known New York artists.

I am drawn to his “Ocean Park Series” where he combined geometric shapes and color to evoke the landscape of Southern California. How could this balance of lines and angles and planes point so clearly to the ocean and land? How could he so readily capture the hazy coastal light of Southern California? Can I?

I loved that Diebenkorn was a disciplined artist. Showing up every day in the studio at an ascribed time. Like me.

I felt a kindred spirit.  It made me feel good to know that intuitively I was following the lessons of a master.

In my Water in Motion collection, there is always an underlying “sense of peace” even in the most tumultuous sea. Diebenkorn’s “Ocean Park” series was described as a “tension beneath the calm.”

When I paint abstract, I must always find a horizontal line to ground me. Without that horizon line I am simply lost to begin. In my reading, I learned Diebenkorn joined broad planes of color organized on a vertical horizontal.

I learned that Diebenkorn’s viewpoint often looked upward, or suggested a great distance below, and his space was defined through the relationship of line to the brushstrokes on his tonal plane. My use of space is not lifelike or realistic.

The story of Diebenkorn’s work was told in paradox. The story of my work is seeing beyond what appears to be.

He left his earlier markings visible in the final piece. The 50+ layers of beeswax in my work reveal brush strokes beneath and the imperfection. 

Both our works are meditative.

There is so much to learn and explore. I am just at the surface. For now, I’d like to humbly share my exploration and gratitude and Homage to Diebenkorn.

Peace All Ways,
Shima

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