Joe Caruso

For me, painting is about trust and surrender, exploration and discovery, possibility and perseverance, and sometimes, even disaster.  I embrace a way of working that encourages surprise, as disturbing as that can sometimes be.


I begin a piece by laying out some colors that I  may want to include; beyond that, I do not have a predetermined notion of what the painting should become .  I use oils with a cold wax medium and experiment with various amounts of each.  With a blow torch, I fuse the two to explore color and form.  What I particularly like about this method is its unpredictability.  As heat is applied, magic is created:  fusion occurs and, in an instant, long drips, whirling streams, and even minor snow storms develop when the pigment merges and or separates from the wax.  I   turn the painting on all four sides to see it from multiple perspectives, sometimes changing its final orientation. I dance a tango with my painting, letting it take me where it wants to go; yet  as I engage with the piece, study it and lose myself in it , I assert myself by adding, deleting, extending, or revising shape, line,  and/or color.  The medium and method makes for colors that are intense and powerful and, as the surface hardens, an interesting texture develops, consisting of hills and valleys that make you want to run your fingers over the surface.


The pursuit of the abstract represented in these paintings comes from a long journey that began with classical realism, the rendering of Greek, Roman, and Egyptian sculpture, to still life and plein air landscape painting, and finally to printmaking.  Crossing the bridge from printmaking to paint by converting  monotypes into paintings was a first step in  shifting my thinking into the world of the abstract that eventually resulted in this new work.

Happy Go LuckyMixed media Joe Caruso: Tangerine
Joe Caruso: Harvest Joe Caruso: Divertimento
Joe Caruso: Ocean Breeze Joe Caruso: Taj
Joe Caruso: Confluence