The Switch: Part 1

So one needs inspiration now and again, and it just so happens I’m in one of those now… again.  Thankfully, my (never out of ideas) friend Peter Russo wanted to do a little art experiment and trade sketches to see what would happen with the developed works of art; like swapping babies, but without the moral headache.  I agreed and we will both be posting our progress on our respective websites: Pete @ and me here @

This being the first step let me put this into perspective.  We are both artists and have been since we could remember, and have been good friends since before we could remember remembering.  However, our methods are very different, so while we admire each other’s work, the one would never have come up with the other’s.

Pete is the well-educated experimental idea man.  He has a great deal of thoughts and creations rolling around in his brain.  He has made great prints, paintings, mixed media drawings, and the most poignant giant head you have even seen.  Pete also has a way with words that I have always admired, and in fact, I suggest reading his post for a more eloquent description of this project.  But, he has so many ideas that he sometimes finds it hard to even start a work because it could go anywhere, be made of anything, and be inspired by a universe of influences.

In contrast, my work is tightly controlled.  Each painting utilizes only a few well established elements rearranged for differing effect.  There is a focus in my work that is mirrored in the ritual-like layering of oil paint that has become my signature; working with the same composition for months at a time with change only coming through color variation.  So developing new elements has become increasingly difficult as I find myself more and more accustom to the same themes I have been working on for years.

So what Pete could use is a starting point; a narrowing of the infinite possibilities.  And what I need is something outside my carefully constructed box; something to spice things up.  In each other we saw that thing that was missing.  Pete could use my sketch as a starting point, an instant narrowing of possibilities; and I could get another subject to explore.  Or at least that’s the idea.  We’re not done yet.

This is the first step in the journey.  But a good step it has been.  Below is one of the sketches I got from Pete (left) and next to that (right) is my first interpretation.












I will be posting my progressions as I go, so keep coming back for more of the evolution, and I promise they will be shorter.  I’m terribly excited about this project and think it will prove to be the best idea I never had.