Underneath the bloom,
me and my melancholy
This is one of a number of my paintings that use this strong black line to express an organic form. I learned to do calligraphy when I was very young and have always been drawn to this type of line. There is a lot of poignancy and beauty to be found in how it changes in one stroke: thick to thin, loud to quiet, bold to just a wisp.
I see these kinds of lines everywhere in nature, too. The elegance of leafless, black-barked trees in winter, the intricate patterns of lichen that encrust those trees like jewels—even the crosshatch pattern of the fur on my black and white dog's chest, growing in a swirl as he steps into the frame as I try to photograph that lichen...
The painter Ben Shahn created lines that were distinctly his own and I have admired them for as long as I can remember. He said, "How do you paint yellow wheat against a yellow sky? You paint it jet black."