About

To discuss these paintings specifically in terms of inspiration or technique lessens the value of what they are truly about.  So much of what I do is improvised and connected to a given moment in which certain line, color and shape relationships start to arise. The meanings of these elements are very personal and at times almost completely obscure to me.  So my art rises above what can be discussed verbally.  I have a strong feeling for the aspect of the work that is beyond words, the mystery of what a piece of art is, like the mystery of life.  To discuss this in some kind of scientific or dissecting way diminishes the value for me of what the painting is.  Let’s leave that up to the critics or those who feel that discussion of art in words brings them closer to some understanding within themselves.  It certainly doesn’t bring me to a closer understanding with what the work is truly about; that is, the feelings that I have for my life and for the lives of others in the world.

Regarding the technical aspects of my working process, when I begin to create and make the first marks, I try to pull a feeling or sense of beginning out of them.  Once the painting begins to dictate to me what it wants me to do, I proceed by making those marks, looking at them, changing them, painting over them, scraping the surface, digging at the surface-doing anything to create a conversation between myself and the painting in which I can become more aware.  I seek a heightened awareness of life, the life of creating, the act of living, the life that I live, those emotional situations that we are all involved with.  In this process of moving the surface around, the painting keeps shifting and changing, until it reaches a certain point where all the marks seem to come together in a kind of statement or a conclusion.  Then it falls away again and things are painted out and rearranged, building up to another point which may last for another five minutes or ten or fifteen, where no matter what happens in the painting, no matter what mark I make or color I use, it seems to be the right choice.  It’s that feeling of being so involved and so “on” that the painting is talking, and I’m relating to it, back and forth.  Things really start to get charged up at those times.  The sense of really being alive is very present in the air around me.  My whole sense of the studio and the world tend to fall away.  What’s really happening is the intensity of the work has my mind and my heart so involved that nothing else matters, nothing else is a concern, other than that trance or that state of mind in which I am totally involved with the process of creating. inhibits the process of

I have always tried to stay as far away as possible from becoming involved in technique.  To master some kind of technique is not what I am about.  To control the media to the point at which you have mastery over it doesn’t allow for things to become, to happen.  Such control inhibits the process of constantly learning through working with the paint or any other type of material.  To have a set pattern in which you do this or that at a certain time isn’t viable for me.  I want to shift and change and see what happens with different materials at different times.  I want to scrape the painting when it’s wet, scrape it when it’s dry, rub it, throw things at it, do things to it that constantly keep shifting it away from being something that I might consider special or might want to preserve.  I want to avoid any aspect of the painting becoming “precious”.  Nothing should stand in the way of what can really be created.  The shift is always “away” from that idea in my mind.

To me, a painting is never really finished.  When I stop working on it, it’s done for the time being, and there may come a point where I no longer want to work on it.  My whole working process is one in which the work is constantly in a state of change and flux.  New things are brought to the surface-new compositions, new relationships between lines and forms-that come from a pace that is open and free.  They are not contrived or set up from something that I already know about.  I don’t ever want to set up a painting that I already know about.  I want to be in complete awe of what is happening.  That’s the only way I can feel that the painting is alive.  If I already have a finished product or an idea in mind, then it’s not something I want to be involved in.  At that point, there’s no way I can become more aware or feel that I am learning or getting something from the painting.

When I use color in the beginning of a painting, it’s very arbitrary.  I use colors that are probably leftovers in the bottom of the bucket where I’ve washed my brushes.  I actually begin by staining the canvas or the paper in certain areas, or perhaps the whole thing, depending on my feeling that day of what I want to do.  As the painting progresses, the color selection becomes more and more chosen, and the painting begins to take on a certain color scheme or theme, depending on the mood of that particular painting.  The color becomes more selected the further I go into the painting in order to create the relationships and in order to bring forth a sense of unity that makes the painting readable.  Sp everything starts off as being a free-for-all and ends up coming together to work as a total relationship, as a single unified statement.  But I need that openness in the very beginning, that sense of there being nothing in my way that inhibits my ability to find those deep pockets of mystery, of what I am not aware of or what “can happen” if I do this or change that.  Thus the painting is allowed to have a beginning that is not confined to anything I already know.  I want to paint things that I don’t know about, to constantly be experiencing the newness of the creative act and the possibilities it presents.