My Story

Three years ago my friend, Michael Geschwer, invited me to his studio to paint. It was an engaging experience and created an appetite to keep learning. We conversed often that first year about art and art history. I wanted not only to understand the process of painting but also to find my voice and identity as a painter. He shared with me all his knowledge and experience. Not only was I learning the technical elements and physical act of painting, but I began to see painting as a pictorial language, a mindset ingrained in him by his most influential teacher Ophrah Shemesh. It was a breakthrough for me to understand painting as a linguistic act using lines, marks and washes. At first, I worked using the traditional method of under-painting, a process that separates color from whites in order to slowly build up forms and create light.

We looked at painters like Cezanne and focused on the intentions of his lines and marks. We examined his use of receding planes to slowly build up transparent layers of color with each mark. These marks were all his personal signatures on the plane of the canvas. It was the accumulation of these marks that gave us the illusion of three-dimensionality.

As we worked and talked, I realized that with the limited time I had during the offseason, I wanted more immediacy in my work. Sticking with the basic theory, I started to look at other artists like Georgio Morandi and tried to develop that immediacy through a more direct process. I continued to pursue my understanding of the act of mark-making itself throughout history.

I looked at Lascaux and other cave paintings. I looked at De Kooning, Cy Twombly, Yves Klein, Lucio Fontano and Alberto Burri. We talked about these different types of marks and what the artists were trying to convey.

At this point our conversations turned to content, subject matter and narrative, which became as important to me as pictorial language.

It was during this investigation process that Yves Klein particularly caught my attention- not only the physicality of some of his work, but also that the human form could become a proxy for the brush. I suggested that striking the canvas with my painted body in hockey gear could give me that immediacy and physicality in a way that also coincides with my identity. I could create my own event with each strike and build compositions through successive hits to the canvas rather than translating objects of reality. I hoped it might deepen the content of my work.

The rest was just executing this concept. You will find a short description with each painting and what that painting means to me. I hope you enjoy my first series, “Landing My Mark”


Jacob Trouba