Lorna Ritz | Paintings

I explore ideas just as an improvisational musician finds his “lines.” The dialog between ideas lives in me like a fascinating story I’m telling. I want to see what happens through the “chance encounters” I have with paint, ‘in the moment.’ Free like this, invention surges up and I paint out of curiosity: a problem area in the painting becomes a foreign country in which to travel. I continue to strengthen the major concept as it is forming it’s way to becoming “whole.” I enjoy the struggle and the search, reaching for the inaccessible., referential to landscape which is not overtly stated, but implied.

A familiar shape worked out in the last painting gets obliterated in the new one, for it cannot have a name which has already been spoken. My painting process is always unsettling, completely passionate, radical, and driven, but it is the paint itself that guides me to a place of wonder. The painting has to be better than the idea, which was the painting’s original intent.

It is the act of breathing life onto the canvas that enables the paintings’ surfaces be like windows or mirrors into which to look. It is the architectural construction of a painting that moves me. It is how colors relate that guide me inside the painting’s space.

I edit constantly, (scraping and reapplying paint). I feel like I am at a construction site breathing life onto the canvas through a simultaneous building up and a tearing down of color. My paintings ‘sing’ through the light that emanates from the color combinations themselves. I ‘listen’ for the hidden secrets embedded in the paint itself, and to how it wants to move across the surface of linen. I paint and scrape and then repaint. The surfaces of my paintings resemble ancient walls, in that there is a sense of history alive in them, through the repetition of the “placement and replacement” of paint many times over. I try to convince my students that they can’t expect to get it right the first hundred times, that it is necessary to go through the search process. A painting gets born when it has a specific presence that comes alive in it, that seems, for me, to come together only at the very end through the last accoutrements that fine-tune it.

Each of my paintings represents a crystallized chunk of formal experience, as well as being very personal at the same time. My paintings are earthy, rock-like and weighty, and yet they have in them the rhythm of the sea. I am a nature painter; the nature “out there” coupled with my own internal landscape. My “inner” finds the equivalent “out there.”

I have finally earned the right to title a painting “Duende.” This Flamenco word has many meanings, all of them applicable, but what “Duende” means to me is a need to communicate personal experience, to send waves of emotion that look like the painting got painted with little conscious effort, having a quality of a time distortion effect, even though the painting took months of concentration to pull together into what whole impact it finally becomes.