I had been talking to visitors about the new paintings I had made after my trip to Las Vegas this summer, including this big Holiday Motel, and another of the Lucky Cuss Motel sign. It was a short but intensely inspiring trip, and I returned with many photos and a vivid impression of color and light and heat. A guy said he came in because he glimpsed this painting from the street and he wanted to show me the photo he'd just taken of the same sign on his own Vegas visit. So, Las Vegas was a topic of enjoyable conversation several times over the weekend. Today I was sad and furious over the violence that ripped through that city last night. There is so much happening to be sad about; there are many useful actions we can take, but the feelings of despair, rage, and powerlessness loom so large.
I have had these thoughts for months but have found no effective way to articulate them, so I disappear into colorful paintings of places and objects, which seem to reflect an alternate reality, an escape into a frozen moment of memory or imagining. In the despair, such art feels useless. On a better day, there is space for whatever emptiness it fills.