It was March on a Sunday at a gas station off I-95 in Rhode Island. I scrolled through my audiobook app to find something to pass the miles faster. I was worn out from Boston Tea Party, a crossover swing dance event in Massachusetts.
I typed in Malcolm Gladwell to see what might be available. I like the sound of his voice. It reminds me of someone I loved.
Blink was the book I downloaded. Voice aside, I really just chose it because it was available. I had absolutely no idea what it was actually about. None. I listened to Tipping Point last summer and enjoyed it. I hit play and resumed my journey down 95. While merging back onto the highway, the introduction stole my attention, “…Blink, the power of thinking without thinking. Written by Malcolm Gladwell and read by the author.” When he began talking about art, I may or may not have let out a gigantic, “WHAT…!?”.
It felt just like a day in the 90’s when I randomly bought a cd without a clue why. At a record store in Central Square, I picked up a disc. The musician didn’t look particularly cool, something just told me to pick it up and buy it. Later that afternoon when I popped it in the cd player, I couldn’t believe the sound. The artist sang a song I’d heard only once on the radio. This was long before the days of Shazam, I had been dying to hear it again. Despite search efforts, I hadn’t been able to track it down. At least not until it wound up on that random cd. By the way, blindly purchasing music was something I did once.
Thin slicing, a wordy expression that captures so much of what painting series I call First Impressions is about. The whole scenario feels like poetry, read by the person the poem was written about.
First Impressions started after I met someone with qualities I’d never noticed in anyone before.
On my way to our first date, I didn’t even expect to like him. I honestly just went because his proposition was 100 miles closer than my other plans. If I had a type, it wasn’t him. Unfortunately, I got a feeling. It was instant and terrifying. He felt warm like home, like my soul found its person.
Plus I had dreamt the whole night exactly one week earlier. That was weird too. I didn’t realize that part until we were leaving. The dream memory flashed and I told him. He joked, asking if I knew the roulette numbers too. We kissed goodbye. He went one direction, I went another. Blah blah, paintings happened in the after-magic.
I took the whirlwind and overthought it a while before settling on an idea about the way we fill in so many blanks upon meeting someone new. It can happen fast.
Time, impressions, thinking, feeling, logic, fate, intuition, spontaneity. Croquis versus oil paintings! Oil paintings via croquis.
First Impressions paintings are kind of like a visual form of the rapid cognition Gladwell talks about. I slowly make oil paintings from croquis, impressions, without consciously studying what’s actually there for any notable amount of time. They’re informationally bare bones fleshed out with just emotion. The human form paintings are based on intuition, emotion, and imagination with elements of fate, honesty, and truth.
Lucky for me, I’m seeing this book over a year into making the paintings. If I had even heard of Blink before the paintings, I don’t think I’d have even touched the idea. Certainly not like this… and I’m finding these paintings extraordinarily satisfying.
Art and love are pretty much the same thing.
Blink day was weird. Really weird. And this is crap! Of course crap in the most magical dreamy sense… like, unicorn poop or something.