A painting begins for me as an act of will. I start with intention, a plan to enter into a new work and find my way through. I know exactly what I want to do, yet have no specific image in mind. I know which steps to take, but have no idea where they will lead. In the beginning I just have the will to start. The beginning can be one the most exhilarating parts of the process.
Will is a very powerful human quality, and one that has been central to some or our greatest achievements and most horrific catastrophes. When will is connected to imagination and poetic sensitivity, it can be an amazing force which leads to truly great things.
But for me, will alone cannot finish a painting. At some point, something else must take over. I need to be motivated enough and have the will to pursue the work, but at the same time passive enough to allow myself to open up to other sensibilities. At that point, I am following more than leading, responding rather than directing. Its a delicate and curious balance. In some ways as a creator one needs to be naive, and be willing to surrender to something outside what your mind might be telling you to do.
In this way it might be said that my paintings are created out of a combination of intention, intuition and improvisation.
Here are some medium sized canvases in various stages of evaluation/completion. While I've refined my approach and motif for this particular series of paintings, I regard each one individually as it develops. When I look at a painting in progress, I hold out for a certain moment of insight/feeling to lead me to the next step. Sometimes that might take awhile to reveal itself in a particular painting. That is one of the reasons why I usually have several paintings coming along at the same time.
I am open to being surprised at what might come up; the size and position of a shape, the creation of a unique color, its relationship to the other colors. I'm looking for a certain harmony, resonance, and mystery to emerge. A painting will not be done until it does. In this way, even though there is a similar horizontal motif across the series, in the end each painting develops its own unique look and atmospheric mood.
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