When I find a subject that quickens my thought, painting in a series allows me to explore the boundaries of the idea. With the “Lascaux France” series, I enjoyed the challenge in creating the background of each painting by glazing layers upon layers of oil paint so that the aged texture would gradually render an echo to the ancient cave walls.
Handling the paint varies depending upon how I want my subject revealed. Ancient forests, rock/water formations and general landscapes all call for a different painterly approach.
Much of my inspiration comes from my emotional/geographical environment. I live on a 10-acre horse farm in stunning South Langley, Canada. Ponds surround my studio while equine beauties graze on emerald pastures.
Art is like riding a horse. It is thrilling. I love to control it. I always knew I was a painter, even before I painted. It was something I had to do. I wasn’t happy if I wasn’t creating. It would be like being deprived of water. It would hurt me that much. It’s who I am. Painting is not about making a statement in art. The subject matter is not a political statement or a conflict or an issue. It is a celebration of the ordinary. The quietness of the extraordinary. The truth in contradictions and contrast.
I love to watch the sky and land and water from my kitchen window. The moodiness of the clouds and patterns of the sky during rain and thunderstorms. Rainbows often frame the property. “I am in the middle of the rainbow.”
I love the colours red and purple: The red shadows are exciting. Seeing the red in the landscape validates my painting and the colours I see. People say ‘I’ve never seen those colours there before.’ I can say, ‘the earth looks red, the sun changes the earth tones.’
Organizing space into a shape is a way to transform space, negative or positive, light or shadow. I rely more on shadow, its mystery, it is behind a closed door; it can be deep or bright, bu always more mystery. Light however is bright and dancing before you. Shadow is more challenging. I have to look harder.
I also have a physical relationship with my canvas. I make my own canvas supports, stretch and nail down the canvas, and prime it with four coats of gesso — I feel I am half way there when the ‘base’ of what I am doing is ready. The preparation and priming for the work is a metaphor for the priming needed mentally to begin the work. I feel transfixed as I lay out the paints and brushes. I think about the under painting or glazing, or a work I will add finishing touches to. I am in another world and I feel I become one with the canvas. Then a story emerges.
I incur many contradictions in colour metaphor for my creative process, and emotional stimulus (death) for the painting concept. Emotion plus some detail in nature results in, via creative act, a visual representation or reflection of both the creative process and the emotion experienced made visible.