"First the lines are alive. Then they die. They are dead, and you try to make them live again"
Clear and simple magic uttered by my son while making a drawing at the age of five. It struck me at the time that he got to the bottom of the artistic process, at least my own. When I start a painting every mark is fresh and alive, but as I advance in my quest to find something meaningful, bits and pieces of the work begin to fade, or lose their strength entirely as new areas come to the forefront. The process goes on and on until the work feels complete, or sometimes it remains unresolved. At that point I set it aside or move it to another room where I may glance at it occasionally. The painting can stay there unnoticed for a long time, until something happens and it comes alive. This can be triggered by the way the light enters the room, or by an interior silence that sets in and permits me to notice what is around me at a deeper level. In those moments, as I tap into a new insight I get a glimpse of what I need to do in order for the image to come alive.
Painting for me is an experiential act, a journey which transforms me and in which I exist at a higher level of consciousness. I try to get away from the formulated mark by using gauche gestures, inviting the accidental mark of the brush or pencil or the occasional drip. It doesn't always work, but it is important to remain receptive and keep exploring. It is only by removing the barriers of learned gestures that I can push towards some level of truth. The immersive quality of music helps me cut off from the world and focus my mind on the painting - it is a state of mind to which my body follows. The blank canvas becomes the stage on which unexpressed emotions manifest. I often try to use my left hand because it has not learned to “walk” yet on canvas, or draw with both hands at the same time, in a process of disclosure in which I assume a place of ‘unknowing.’ I work from instinct, grasping for a more fundamental mark that can reveal something raw and unsaid from within. And then time stretches far back to wherever it takes me and I drift towards and away from a singularity of being and an emptiness of self.