Dave Sims’ watercolor paintings are a submission to the chance of creation and a surrender to emptiness.
AFTER OVER THIRTY YEARS of teaching writing and literature to recalcitrant college students I developed a heathy and respectful distrust of language, and after retiring from that career I’ve spent the past five years committed primarily to working on my own visual art, exploring the potential of both traditional and digital media.
I believe that at least one strand of whatever it is that fuels my creative process is very much akin to Zen—a surrender of the self to the emptiness. With these watercolors, I began with no preconceived design. I placed a few drops of water into a shallow bowl of ebony soapstone and began to swirl and rub the ink stick of pine and soot and ash until the liquid turned silky, smooth and dark.
I picked up the various wolf hair brushes, and simply surrendered to the lines and shapes that flowed into the thick, absorbent paper.
Sometimes I augmented those emergences with thick and/or thin markers, small dabs of concentrated Chinese paints, more water until—usually with no concerns about time or purpose—words began to enter, and those words then influenced any additional lines and shapes and colors until the work told me it was complete.
Of course, there are stories imbedded in these pieces. I believe we live in an interconnected world of infinite stories, after all.
In addition to teaching, my many years of reading and writing influence the titles that comprise and complete each work. Because words also shape the worlds we inhabitant (whether we like it or not), as the pieces enter the viewer/reader’s mind, the titles interact with the images so that, ideally, the single page tells the entire tale.
I strive to have little to no intentions regarding the paintings I make. I open myself up to the universe, silence the words in my head as best as I am able, and seek with a full heart to capture some visions from worlds that coexist simultaneously with this one that we call real.
Dave Sims makes art and music in the old mountains of central Pennsylvania. His traditional and digital paintings and comix appear in dozens of tangible and virtual publications and exhibits, while his totems continue to catch the eyes of many strangers, and his guitar playing and singing still leave listeners shaking their heads in disbelief. See his website at www.tincansims.com