New Painting: “A Newness Clean and Pure”

July 25th, 2014 | No Comments

a newness clean and pure by grant wiggins
A Newness Clean and Pure. 2014. Acrylic on canvas. 30 x 24 inches (76 x 61 cm).


This week’s Painting of the Week is A Newness Clean and Pure, which I finished Thursday. It’s an acrylic on canvas piece that measures 30 by 24 inches (76 x 61 cm).

Pure and simple, this painting is a mashup of graphical motifs that have interested me of late. This painting is just me having fun — trying to make something new!

The grid and heraldic vair-en-pointe waves served as the starting point for this composition. The patterns at the top and bottom were added later, in an improvised fashion. A work-in-progress photo shows what the painting looked like before I began to improvise my way toward the finish.

a newness clean and pure by grant wiggins
A Newness Clean and Pure, in progress.


The title comes from a phrase I heard in a Freakonomics podcast about Japanese residential architecture, titled “Why Are Japanese Homes Disposable?” Noting how the all-wood Shinto shrine at Ise is rebuilt every 20 years, architect Alastair Townsend points out that Japanese culture values newness as something “spiritually clean and pure.” This might help to explain why Japanese homes are torn down every 30 years. (A bigger reason, Townsend observes, might be fear of earthquakes, and a perceived need for the latest earthquake-resistant technology.)

a newness clean and pure by grant wiggins
A Newness Clean and Pure nearing completion.


Each painting is a voyage into newness. The act of conceiving a painting feels like tapping into the electricity that permeates everything, that energy that powers the creative act.

I have been putting greater emphasis on improvisation lately, as well. With the recently loss of the late jazz great Charlie Haden, I have had free jazz on my mind lately. Haden said, “The artist is very lucky, because in an art form that’s spontaneous like [jazz], that’s when you really see your true self.”

And so, obsessed with making, I continue to make. It is not a question of good or bad, or of right or wrong. To make, to improvise, this is a way of connecting with newness and seeing one’s true self.


Painting and Space: New Geometric Painting “Discovering Worlds Yet Undreamt”

July 20th, 2014 | No Comments

Discovering Worlds Yet Undreamt a new geometric painting I finished this Wednesday. The title is inspired by the closing remarks that Neil deGrasse Tyson makes in the final episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.

painting and space - new geometric painting 'discovering worlds yet undreamt'
Discovering Worlds Yet Undreamt. 2014. Acrylic on panel-mounted canvas. 16 x 20 inches (41 x 51 cm).

deGrasse Tyson says:

We and the other living things on this planet carry a legacy of cosmic evolution, spanning billions of years. If we take that knowledge to heart, if we come to know and love nature as it really is, then we will surely be remembered by our descendants as good, strong links in the chain of life. And our children will continue this sacred searching, seeing for us, as we have seen for those who came before, discovering wonders yet undreamt of, in the Cosmos.

When I heard deGrasse Tyson’s phrase, I couldn’t help but capture it on paper, thinking it would be a great title for a painting. Over time, the word wonders became worlds. And when I completed this painting, the title Discovering Worlds Yet Undreamt seemed completely appropriate.

Space exploration is something that has fascinated me throughout my life. Perhaps this may sound like a stretch, but to me, painting is like searching through space, literally and figuratively. Whether one is sitting in front of a telescope or an easel, one is exploring phenomena and cataloging insights.

Discovering Worlds Yet Undreamt reminds me of another painting that I named after a significant event in space exploration. Last September, I named a painting Between Stars, because I was painting it when the Voyager spacecraft began its departure from the Solar System.

painting and space - geometric painting 'between stars'
Between Stars. 2014. Acrylic on panel-mounted canvas. 8 x 12 inches (20.1 x 25.4 cm).

The two paintings seem to share a similar spirit. They may not be about space exploration in a literal sense — or representations of outer space, for that matter — but they both encapsulate how I feel about exploration in my art.

On a related note, a pair of paintings I made in 2008, titled Space Loop I and Space Loop II, were most likely unconsciously informed by space colonies envisioned in the 1970s by artists Don Davis and Rick Guidice for NASA. Those images of self-sustaining colonies floating through space captivated me as a child, and still do.


New Painting: Everything Is A Landscape (Or Not) 2

June 29th, 2014 | No Comments

grant wiggins - everything is a landscape (or not) 2

Everything Is A Landscape (Or Not) 2. June 2014. Acrylic on canvas. 24 x 30 inches (61 x 76 cm).


I have to confess, the World Cup has “parked the bus” in front of my easel! I simply haven’t been painting as much as I probably should lately.

While I might deserve a yellow card for time-wasting, I did recently complete this painting, Everything Is A Landscape (Or Not) 2, an acrylic-on-canvas piece that measures 24 x 30 inches (61 x 76 cm).

This painting is a remix of a painting I finished last month, shown below. I simply wanted to rework the composition, with some small adjustments to the square ribbon motif, in a completely different colorway.

grant wiggins - everything is a landscape (or not)
Everything Is A Landscape (Or Not). May 2014. Acrylic on canvas. 24 x 30 inches (61 x 76 cm).


In other news, my Super Summer Sale of paintings is well underway. Through July 15, I’m offering twenty of my large minimal pieces at 35% off list price. For a list of works available, check out wiggz.com/summer2014.


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