Lesson Two - Heather D.

I’ve always disliked the look of expanded squares: there’s something about the stark contrast and the symmetry that I find both jarring and ho-hum and the first couple of squares I made were exactly as I predicted: quite boring.  Then I started breaking rules and it got a whole lot more interesting.  The last thing that I expected to happen was that this exercise would prompt something that I find visually moving, yet that is exactly what happened.   

Things were always very black or white growing up in my family and it seemed there was never room for nuance or complexity.  I’ve very consciously worked as an adult to think about and become more comfortable with the many areas of grey in my life and I think this process has actually worked its way into my art in that when I step back to take a long look at a painting I'm working on more often than not what is missing is contrast.  

Oftentimes in the studio I am aware that I have this precious sliver of quiet time to create something.  But because of its preciousness, I feel an intense desire to make something beautiful.  I just don’t want to waste my time making something that I don’t love, but this can mean that I am much less likely to break out of my routine, do things differently, and ask “what if?”.   I do work intuitively and if I like how something looks I am inclined to keep it, instead taking the next step and asking would it look better if I did something differently.  This expanded square exercise was a reminder of how important it is to keep asking questions, to not be complacent.