All of my early paintings were attempts to deal with the grief of a broken heart– even the one of Janis Joplin. I won’t go into details. If you’ve been there you can probably relate. And if you are going through it now, don’t do anything stupid. No matter how good you thought it was, no matter how exceptional you think your old love was, it can get better. Much, much better. And to answer a frequent question: yes, one of my old girlfriends was a Scorpio.
These early paintings require the viewer to go into a dark place. Most people are unwilling to go there. I am not advocating that we live in our dark place, only that we acknowledge that it is inevitably a part of our lives, so that we can better know ourselves.
I have heard my early paintings described as violent. One was even vandalized at a show in Marin County in 1981, for some imagined offense known only to the vandal. The paintings themselves are not violent. Rather, they are an indictment of the violence that we inflict on one another, intentionally or not, consciously or not, in the course of loving.
I went through a similar period of heartbreak later in life. That time, images did not come to me to deal with my feelings. I had pretty much painted that already. Instead, I jumped into new experiences to create a new life out of the ashes of my old one. Now, years later, I find that I am compelled to paint images of those new experiences, such as The Lady at Her Broken Piano. Once I was painting again, I found that the images started flowing freely. There will be more paintings dealing with my experiences of that time.