I see pictures everywhere.
Taking long walks and looking at sunlight playing on rocks, leaves, concrete and steel is my way of bringing the outside world into my brain – soaking up the essence – and pushing that fragment of my inner world out onto the canvas as a painting, with shapes, texture, color and pattern marking the way.
Hiking one day I came across a tableau of leaves, grass, twigs and soil. A beautiful composition and color statement. I was particularly taken with the color and form of the leaf and plucked it out of the scene. All of a sudden the colors of the leaf diminished. Removing it from its place was a dramatic lesson in how color depends upon context. It is a lesson that replays every day. How many tints and shades of green are there? That shadow is blue, luminous at sunrise, harsh at noon. I am learning to see.
I spend a long time preparing the canvas. Working in layers, each successive layer obscuring or revealing previous layers, setting up for the final bits of paint; lately a scrim of circles and scribbles that mingle with the colors and textures that came before. A kind of palimpsest.
Most of the time I use acrylic paint on canvas, the canvas usually prepared with gesso; hence sequestering my layers of paint from the substrate. At other times the canvas is left raw, the pigment allowed to soak into the fabric, the layering less distinct.
Standing over the spotless canvas I make a mark, lay down a color, make another mark and follow the paint around as one mark suggests another and another – line, shape, texture – add another color, scrape, sand and glaze my way forward.
Ending up with a painting that is no less beautiful than the empty canvas I started with.