I believe painting has a way of communicating beyond simply “showing” what something looks like. Painting, like many art forms, can express things deeper, things beyond words, universal truths or questions. I approach my subject matter by seeking things that feel right, that speak to me. Often these things will exist in the world as they are, like a specific landscape, person or place and I will paint them as they are. Other times I create a world and scenario in which what I want to say is represented. I describe this second process as if I were a sculptor who first piles clay into a huge mound and then slowly carves away at it, reducing it down to the expression I am seeking. What I mean by this is I find a subject, like a specific room or view out a window and then add other elements to the scene until it feels closer to what I want to express. I throw everything possible into the scene during the sketching and researching process and then slowly eliminate aspects until the scene clicks and is suddenly correct. This process of elimination will often continue all the way until the painting is finished. Great examples of this work process are the paintings in the Crane Series gallery.
What I love in painting, both as an artist and as a viewer, is the feeling I get from seeing something that was meticulously created by pigment and brush. I want to see time – time taken by the painter to think, feel and create – but also the element of time, as if the painting is not frozen as an image but will grow and change with me as a person as I grow and change. I want a painting to be a complete idea but not force on me the viewer how I am supposed to react to the painting. I refer to this as 50% finished. The artist finishes their canvas with their completed idea but leaves space for the audience to finish the other 50% with their personal reaction. A great painting allows space for the viewer to go in any direction they need to. Art should not be in a box nor should it be “right or wrong” nor should it hold the viewers hand. The greatest respect an artist can give an audience is to trust the audience that they will get what they need to from the work. Every viewer will react differently and this is the freedom of art.
This is how I approach my work.