Still Life by Doug Motel at age 12.

I have spent a lifetime of drawing and painting "people, places, and things." Though it has mostly been a private, personal secret, I have periodically shown my work. In fact, I won a prize for a watercolor still life I painted when I was in an exhibition at age 12 (it was an adult show, and I lied about my age so I could get into the show!)

 As I matured, I became fascinated by realism and was enthralled by stippling. Breaking everything down a face or an object into dots was a very meditative process (after about 200 dots, I go into a dream state of peace.) I thought of the dots as the molecules that make up all of matter. Sometimes I would sign pieces (as gifts) "thanks for helping me connect the dots."

Pencil drawing by Doug Motel. Age 16

But lately, something has changed. I have begun to question the whole idea of naming THINGS at all. We are taught as infants to distinguish between what is "I" and what is not "I". We point at was is "over there" as something that is not a part of all that we are experiencing. I know that this can get very, very esoteric to put into words. The best way I can explain it is to say that everything is a part of one big whole in my experience.

With this in mind, I felt I needed to take a break from painting and drawing things and instead paint non-things. Or intangible things such as what I am feeling in the moment.

Abstract art was something that I had stayed away from my whole life as both an artist and a viewer of art. I felt obligated, chained to, my ability to faithfully represent figures so close to real life. I was confused about the abstractions of figures. I was looking for more when standing before abstract art, and as a result, I saw less than what was in front of me.

Cartoon drawing. Doug Motel aged 11

But somehow, for some reason, in 2020, I woke up one day and found myself fascinated with abstractions. Art that people could project their own stories onto.

As of late, I have been starting with either board prepared for watercolor or a watercolor block of watercolor paper and allowing masking fluid to find its way into a composition. Usually, I'll pour some masking fluid into a cup and saturate a piece of yarn into the fluid and drag the wool across the painting surface in some composition.

 When the masking dries, I apply paint. As of late, I've been drawn to colors that suggest either subtropic water or deep arctic seas. And I sit as a curious spectator and watch where the water flows.

When the watercolor dries, I remove the masking fluid and look for places where I could use a brush or a pen to follow the paint's suggestions. After that, I take a marker (usually black ink), and I work with the white space to suggest three-dimensionality.

 Usually, I feel a suggestion for some coral color to appear, and I'll apply that in watercolor or gouache or watercolor pencil.

Watercolor landscape by Doug Motel. Aged 12.

 When it feels as though there's a story that I can see happening very clearly to me, I built a mold filled with non-toxic epoxy resin. I apply a variety of metallic pigments in the resin and move the color around with a toothpick or brush. Once I have a couple of resin layers, I take the painting, lay it into the mold, and seal it forever with another resin layer.

Some of the pieces are done on cradled watercolor boards, and I do not build a mold for them. I pour resin over the surface of the painting.

 Some of these pieces are as small as 9 x 12 in, and some are larger. My dream is to do a trip tik of very large pieces (perhaps 3 ft high each) or take over someone's whole wall!

Although I'm not going to claim the future, because I honestly can't imagine swearing off on drawing or painting people, places, or things, right now, this question of "what is the world around you if you didn't know it all had names" is something that interests me very much in my daily life. So I'm compelled to use my talent for art in service of this contemplation. 

In Peace,

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