[image_with_animation image_url=”11354″ alignment=”” animation=”None” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”] UPCOMING SHOW Lad Decker: Peacekeeping October 1-30, 2018 Our abstract painting teacher for fall is having a show of new work. Lad Decker paints large bold abstractions: reflections on American and global conflicts through the machines and landscapes of war. This is part of her series Conflict of Interest. Peter Miller Books 304 Alaskan Way South, Post Alley, Seattle, Washington, 98104 USA Monday – Saturday 10am – 6pm Opening reception on Thursday October 4, 2018 5:30pm Lad Decker’s large abstract paintings have simplified angles painted with straight flat brush strokes. She paints in a limited palette of hard bold blood, rust, fatigue and dusty colors. Her paintings are direct, neither clean nor soft. She starts with images: books and cinematography with images of armed conflicts from the Vietnam war to the present day wars. “I’m interested in capturing the essence of what is seen and felt. Often, it’s about looking at something that has been seen or photographed many times, and carries an unspoken meaning like the Huey helicopter or the AK-47. These are symbols, not just objects in the world.” These machine shapes simplified, reduced to a few angles and confrontational colors, I like them a lot, even though the mood and the impact is almost too heavy to handle. “It’s hard to talk about, it’s easy to paint.” – Decker Luckily, a painting is not the whole of a painter. While Decker explores a dark world conflict with her brush, over coffee and in the studio, she is quite easy to talk to, even keel, and very kind. She is full of thought, and deeply supportive of other artists. You may have met her at one of our recent events, there to lend a hand and meet other artists. She believes strongly in the community of artists we are building at the League, and I am proud she has agreed to teach the subject of Abstract Painting at the League this fall. “I want to wake up our collective curiosity. Curiosity is crucial for fueling imagination to solve challenges.” – Decker I asked her some questions about her process: When you start a painting, how much of the image is complete in your mind, and how much do you expect it will change from your first idea? “For me, my process starts with feeling, intuition, and observation. Painting is not a fully conscious act. It’s about immersing myself in the experience and what I want to explore. I start with emotion and unanswered questions. A good friend said that I take a “method-acting” approach to my work. I submerge myself in it with all the senses.” Do your paintings go through big changes – the whole composition – do you ever decide to leave part of it and paint over the rest? “Composition and color are where I start the creation process. If those two things aren’t working, the painting will never come together. I work with a limited color palette during each painting session. For example, one session will be all about 3-5 versions of green and grey. I associate colors with emotions and meaning. Some colors have multiple meanings depending on how they are expressed. Yellow can be happy like lemon cake. But yellow can be sickly like hospital lighting.” How do you problem solve a painting that isn’t “done”? Do you ever abandon a painting? “Some paintings don’t make it to the end. Editing is a huge part of the creation process. If nothing gets discarded, then nothing rises to the top. I tell myself to never be afraid of destroying a mediocre work. I also let paintings sit for a long time to either prove to me they are done, or to influence other work. Time is an important factor. I’m stubborn about protecting the time I need to make the work.” Finally, I asked her the one question I wish I could ask every one of my abstract art heroes: How do you know when a painting is done? “When a painting or drawing can communicate on its own, then it is done.” The filmmaker Eric Minh Swenson visited Decker in her studio, and made a gorgeous video that shows her painting process. You can see her references, sketches, palette, how she holds a brush, and how she uses graphite to sketch and become part of her painting. You can see her entire process. This video is a marvelous peak into an artist in their studio. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=333&v=Q56AqNgBATI Interested in learning how to identify meaningful subject matter, deconstruct visual elements, express emotion, and tell stories with abstract paintings? Consider taking Lad Decker’s class this fall. Abstracts runs for 8 weeks every Friday starting Sept 21, from 10:30-2:00. Click here to learn more.