Children's Tea Party

Three paintings in progress

The painting in the upper left corner began as a painting of a tea party, my three children, Alexis, Nicole and Mike, and Mike's friend, Keith gathered around a small, orange table, a mason jar filled with flowers as a centerpiece. The painting never progressed beyond the faint charcoal sketch.  As often happened, life got in the way.

Until now.

Layer one and layer two

Several days ago I added eight, garbage bags, filled with templates of metal, cloth, rusty tools and netting to the dumpster.  For more than a decade I've dreamed of the day I would let go of the manmade "stuff" I use during the process of creating my larger, abstract work.  I've tried imagining what my work might look like if I were to return to using objects only as tools for painting (brushes, pencils, pens, paint, etc.) or to use only objects created in nature as templates for mouth atomizing. I'm about to find out.

I've thrown out all of my templates except for the 1950's hairnet and the templates I use for making large circles.  Orbs continue to inspire and bring energy into my work.

I began the other two paintings in the photo above using a variety of my manmade objects to create the first few layers of paint.  Those two will end up as hybrid paintings ... before-and-after-dumpster paintings. Children's Tea Party is the first of my paintings in which I've returned to the techniques I used prior to the fun and delight I've had for years manipulating the layers by using all sorts of found objects as templates.

Why?  I don't want so much stuff in my life anymore.  I love traveling light!  I love that when I travel, I work only from the world around me, the cities, the mountains, the people, the food.  There are infinite possibilities for manipulation of shapes all around me, wherever I am, wherever I go.  I don't need the rooms full of stuff that I've gathered over the years to "possibly find useful in a painting".

The overabundance of "stuff" became suffocating during this year when escaping from it by traveling has been restricted.  For having pushed me to the point of filling the dumpster, I'm grateful.  I'm excited to be back exploring my connection to nature through my studio art as well as my sketchbooks.

Layer three before spraying it with water and tipping it around  

Layer three after manipulation and drying

Layer four ... a few fun splats of red

to be continued ...

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Chris Carter - Artist

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