Terry Miura • Studio Notes

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Getting Thicker

Blues Jam, 24 x 18 inches, oil on linen

I'm nearly done with all the paintings for Urban Aria, which opens on November 5th. I started painting for this show about a year ago, and in that time I saw my style change a bit. Consequently, I had to reject some of the earlier pieces in this series because they no longer seemed to work with the group. They're good paintings and I still like them a lot, but I have this preoccupation with creating a show that's cohesive as a whole, and not a collection of different sides of me. 

The very last of the bunch are painted thicker and loser than the earlier ones. It just gradually became that way over the course of doing three dozen pieces (of which 25 - 28 will be shown) I really am enjoying painting thicker. It sort of helps me look at paint as paint, rather than material with which to create a visual reality.  Abstraction being one of the main concerns, anything that helps me think in those terms is worth investigating. Thick paint, it turns out forces me to think about the physical quality of the material, and less so about the physical quality of the thing that is being painted.  I'm not sure if the distinction is important but it does seem to liberate me from being too literal.

I can't see myself going completely non-representational, because I'm not willing to let go of the structure provided by the recognizable. I need some rules, in other words. If all rules were thrown out, how do I know if anything is good or bad? Right or wrong? I'd have a hard time with that. 

For now, thick paint and abstraction work well together, and I'm going to keep pushing it further. 


  1. For me lately I keep running into this topic as I do my various art reading; early on in my painting education I read about 'the alchemy of paint' from painters like Lennart Anderson and Duane Keiser. It's still too vague for me, but they talk about pushing the paint around, and letting the paint create the form or illusion.
    Something like that- I guess you understand it better, but it sounds like a fascinating way to understand painting, and I hope someday to hit that level.

  2. I hadn't heard the term "the alchemy of paint" but it sounds very apt. I like it. I think that probably starts to happen when a painter is able to separate in his head the color/value of a note from the application of the note. In other words, mixing the exact color/value necessary should be so practiced that it's almost intuitive. That way, the brain's processing power is freed up to focus on the application of the paint, where magic happens.

  3. Very good Terry! I like the way you explain that.