Following a busy Fall of 2017 in which I had a time-consuming freelance project plus was preparing for and hosting my first studio exhibit in the Austin Studio Tour, I wanted to escape to work that was quiet and re-energizing. I've long had an interest in planetary sciences and space exploration, and I decided to focus on recent exploration of Mars (which at the time I did not feel was receiving the attention it deserved considering the significance of human exploration of the surface of another planet). I opted for dreamy, meditative surfaces created from watercolor washes, intentionally eschewing any sort of "rigor" in execution or form—a corporate jargon word that I'd had my fill of and that had infiltrated the academia-centric art world. I researched NASA resources heavily, and compositions were pulled directly from NASA imagery and then stylized and simplified. Composite images created extreme horizontals with sometimes jagged edges that I honored in the paintings. Titles refer to the rover and the location that the imagery was drawn from, or they were conceived to mimic the grandiosity of NASA's naming conventions. Creating this series had the effect I hoped for of offering an energetic reset, both soothing and mentally stimulating. Though I had a stack of research and other ideas for paintings, this series ended when I became busy with freelance work again. In the time since, there have been many developments in the exploration of Mars, and it periodically beckons to me to return.
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