My studio and home are on a ridge overlooking a large open valley of flood plain, empty of houses and lights. Storms can be seen building 20 miles away. There’s native prairie, and also dense woods with mature timber and a creek. It’s in these broad spaces where I work and also am most comfortable.
When I begin to paint, if I can minimize or bypass interpretation and be devoted to the physical and emotional experience of being in and of the environment, then the painting seems to know what it’s doing, and reveals itself as an honest expression.
Large heavy rolls of raw cotton canvas are torn to size, pinned to the ground with heavy rocks or weights to keep the wind from carrying it, sprayed with water and left to dry. Drips of water, a horsefly, a hawk’s cry, a foot hitting the ground, a storm blowing in, all fuel a felt sense of color and mark to create an unbound visual slice of life.
Deep, rich stains of colors are mixed-poured-pushed into the fabric, which become the atmosphere and environment in which the painting lives.
The canvas is eventually tacked to a wall and opaque mark making begins. The imagery is raw and initially unedited, recorded with stick, brush, palms of the hands, screwdrivers, pencil, crayon, spray paint, crammed with an array of sensory and intellectual experiences.
Lastly is the quiet work of looking, studying and adjusting. Movements stem from deeply interior shifts, gentle and delicate – as a compass needle swings back and forth and finally settles – until the work comes into balance.