Friday, March 06, 2009

My Artist Statement

Making art is a very solitary experience for me. My studio is my sanctuary where I escape the rush and noise of life and make myself whole again. I release my built up creative energy wielding a palette knife thick with oil paint across a canvas.

I was born this way. An artist. You can ask my parents. I always looked at life differently and noticed things others quickly passed over. I’ve been learning to see for almost fifty years now and at the same time learning to express my visions so I can share with others. These visual recollections continually dance in my head until I give them another place to live.

Just as I have never been able to follow a recipe while cooking, each painting experience is a new creative challenge I set for myself. Can I capture the brilliance of the color, the intensity of the light or the subtle details tucked in the shadows? Each painting is a lesson learned which is in turn applied to the ones after. It’s quite often not fun. It’s hard and I’m hard on myself. I won’t quit until I’ve been able to say what I intended to say. It’s funny isn’t it, that I speak as if my painting speaks? That’s the way I think. My mind says, “this is what I’m trying to say”, not what I am trying to make something look like.

“Where is that?” I’m often asked in reference to one of my paintings. I don’t mean to seem flippant but the reality is that it was here (pointing to my head) and now it’s here, (pointing to the canvas). More and more I paint that way. In fact, I start many paintings flat on my back. Lying quietly with my eyes closed, I design paintings in my head drawing upon my memories. Choosing to include just enough detail to express the scene.

Lately, I’ve decided that no painting leaves my studio until it “sings”. They don’t all have to sing the same song but each painting needs a strong voice and an enchanting melody. It always delights and interests me when someone is drawn to my work. It struck a chord within them and resonates true to some experience in their own life. The painting makes them smile, just as the process did for me. It’s a good thing to feel good. We each need to be reminded of all the good in life.

There was a time when I didn’t feel so good. Not good at all. But when I was painting all was right with my body and the world. My art is my therapy but I also believe it has a purpose and life beyond me. I believe I am put here as an artist to share the joy I feel and perhaps others will find themselves looking at the world around them a little differently and find themselves smiling.