I try to work on two things at the same time: one large, ambitious work and one smaller, more immediately satisfying piece. This strategy keeps the juices flowing and lends courage during prolonged periods of what often seems like pointless labor. I like to keep the inventory balanced between big, theatrical statements and quieter, more sellable things. It seems unwise to over invest time and materials in things which are hard to show, so I often save the edgier, more challenging subjects for these smaller, more modest efforts. “Joanna and the Whale” is an example.
The idea for the title came first. The resulting image is a mash-up of an anime cartoon and a tourist photo of an amusement park ride.
“Joanna” has been a welcome diversion from “The Devi of Waikiki” which is crawling toward completion. There’s always a point in a project when the work leaves your hand and goes its own way and “Devi” has finally graduated. Sometimes things get better when this milestone is reached and sometimes they don’t. But it’s always a welcome relief when a piece is finally making you, and not the other way around. Pairing this attractive painting with “Joanna” pleases me no end. Like a well-seasoned meal, I aim to balance the bitter with the sweet.