For this show I asked myself what would happen in my work if I relied solely on my intuition when making the hundreds of decisions necessary to resolve a painting. Would I be able to find that little voice in me that was completely my own and, if so, how would that look? How was I going to go about this? Would I even end up with a body of work? As artists, we are bombarded with opinions about our work. Whether good or bad, these voices can become an unconscious kind of self editing as we work. I was getting in my own way by allowing either real or imagined outside influences to effect decisions I made as I worked. In order to strengthen my connection to my own authentic self and voice, I decided to restructure each day in my studio. This would be the premise for Little Voice. I began the practice of walking into my studio, ignoring the work done the day before, sitting down, reading my daily devotion, writing and meditating about what I had read then a short prayer. I asked for clarity, Presence and a listening heart. I turned off my phone (most days!), turned up my music and began flying without a net and trying to listen to my own voice. It was some heavy lifting! I spent the first three months with only one painting finished for this show. I felt like I was floundering but I was determined to see if this led to strengthening that muscle called intuition. I found that work flowed much more easily if I let go of preconceived ideas of what I wanted the work to be and reacted with intuition to what was going on in the painting. I started to realize that this was changing my whole outlook with my work. I was literally watching my process change before my eyes and the best part was that, as that happened, all the stress associated with preparing a solo exhibition started disappearing (well..not ALL of it). I was much more confidant that all those paintings I had in process would be resolved in their own good time. We painters accept that we will never accomplish everything we want to but I am happy with my work and excited to see where it will go from here. What I have realized is that I needed this discipline and focus to go more deeply into my work. With the age of instant information and social media, it is all too easy to drown out that small voice inside each of us. It is harder than it has ever been to find and respect that part of us that is completely original. Painting abstractly is never an easy way to paint…”if it is easy then you aren’t doing it right!”.. as Brian Rutenberg would say. But you must be able to gain clarity with your voice and your process. That takes a lot of miles on the paintbrush.
I have several ways I use to find my way into a painting. I am a colorist and that is where I try to begin. I will have an idea of the colors I want to use but I also keep in mind that this is just a starting point and may change lots of times before I resolve the work. Most of the time I do some blind contour or automatic drawing on the canvas with several marking tools. I use custom glazes almost more than I do straight paint and I will start with a few colors of glazes that I move around the canvas and carve back into. From there I usually try to form an initial composition in my mind and rough that in. As I continue to work in this manner…painting then drawing on repeat…the piece starts grabbing my interest and eventually I resolve it to suit me. I absolutely love to build up surfaces and line as a history of the piece. When I have resolved a piece, I have painted a history of the time I spent working on it and it is almost always a shared history with how all of us spend our days…doing things we love, interacting with family and friends, petting the dog, worrying about dinner. Universal themes!