FRANCIS GREGORY DI FRONZO

NOTHING STARTS TOMORROW
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Unlike most of the paintings I'd made up to that point, Nothing Starts Tomorrow had no history to it. There were no preliminary sketches made and I didn't have any particular place in mind when I started the painting. It was something or some place created purely out of my imagination.
 
Emotionally, my approach to Nothing Starts Tomorrow was similar to The Border because it was born out of frustration. More significantly and, to be completely honest about it, the painting was conceived while I was drunk.
 

nothingpart4.jpg

Nothing Starts Tomorrow, part IV, oil on panel, 24 x 90 in. (61 x 229 cm.), July, 2002.
 

I started the painting on a  July afternoon in 2002. I was under a lot of pressure to produce new work for an upcoming exhibition and I had spent the previous few weeks creating a series of square paintings. I was feeling trapped by the compositional restraints of that shape and needed a change. Leaning up against the wall in my studio was this long and slender panel. I took a few swigs of whiskey and was feeling really elated so I brought the panel out, laid it flat on the floor and stared at it for quite some time hoping I'd be struck by some brilliant idea.
 
I had plans to go out later that evening and time was quickly getting short. I had to make a move of some kind and so I took my pencil and drew a line from one side of the panel to the other. The line wavered a bit, skimming and nearly falling off the upper edge of the panel, and then descended rapidly on the right. I didn't refine it in any way. That was it. That was the horizon and I left the panel on the floor and went out for dinner and drinks with my friends.
 
When I returned six or seven hours later, I was completely legless but I took a moment to look at that line - to see if that gesture still spoke to me. It didn't and I wanted to chuck the painting out the window. Instead, I went to bed.
 

nothingstartstomorrowpart4detail02.jpg

detail of Nothing Starts Tomorrow, part IV.

An hour or two before daybreak, I woke up with the cold sweats and my troubles with that line stuck in my head. I crawled out of  bed and drew the line again - this time, descending from right to left - across the panel. The two lines intersected perfectly and I suddenly saw one line as the horizon and the other as a steel wire. That was it. Everything was right and perfect and I could suddenly see the painting completed in my mind. I went back to bed and slept off the headache until noon the next day.
 
When I got back to painting I felt as though I was on autopilot. I painted the wire, the sky and the distant bits of the landscape in a single day. The day after that, I worked on the grass in the foreground.
 

nothingstartstomorrowpart4detail01.jpg

detail of Nothing Starts Tomorrow, part IV.

I must have been thinking of Van Gogh for some reason... the way he painted fields of wheat blowing in the wind. I painted my field just as he might have... like rolling waves of wind blowing over this sea of grass.
 
That was the end of it. Three days from start to finish. To date, I think it's the best painting I've ever made. The simplicity of the composition... the elegance of that steel wire. In my mind, the painting is perfect in every way.
 
- Francis Gregory Di Fronzo, 2004

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Francis Gregory Di Fronzo.
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