Vintage Hensleys

It's good every once in a while to clear out the studio and turn it into a gallery. It creates a kind of a pause in which it's possible to "see" my own work for minute.

It was quite a journey getting ready for my Summer Studio Sale. For some reason I dragged my feet trying to decide what to offer. There are piles and piles of drawings and paintings on paper between about 1995 and 2001 that I consider "vintage Hensleys" - a period when I was producing anything and everything that came to mind, as much as I could, in all directions, keeping it wide open in order to give myself as broad a field as possible to discover where I wanted to go.

My guiding light was Picasso, or rather, the image I had of him in his castle in later years, staying up all night painting, then doing nothing for a day, then doing it again, and again, producing, getting out every idea he ever had in some tangible form.

I wasn't even looking at his work directly. Rather, it was a worn, 50's vintage book of photographs of him by his friend, David Douglas Duncan, taken at La Californie, his rambling French mansion, beautiful pictures of him clowning around in costume, playing the marimba with Jean Cocteau, going to bullfights with Jacqueline - and working in the studio - that inspired me endlessly. I felt challenged to be as productive, or to come anywhere close. I still do.

I don't even have pictures of half the stuff I've made. Most of it lives in my "flat files" - four green plastic bread crates I lucked onto at some point, labeled in the front with blue tape and marker "figure", "portrait", "still life" and "landscape" - the four apostles.

In the end, I chose a selection of early landscape explorations, some from Seattle, some from Tacoma, some from a trip to Tuscany - and paired them with my later Squarescapes in Acrylic, a dwindling pile of which remain.

But the really fun thing that happened was that at the last minute I decided the paintings, which cover the walls salon-style, needed some space, some resting points - or perhaps some areas free of detail to connect the various periods. So I grabbed a package of colored Origami squares I use for teaching and taped them up between pictures, turning the entire room into a kind of installation. It's the beginning of a new idea...