For me starting a painting isn’t an action, it’s a series of steps. Choose an object. Arrange the object somewhere, including lights that cast shadows. Take photographs. Download the photos and begin the long process of fiddling with them on my computer. (“Fiddling with them” is my technical term.) Choose an image. Enhance colours, shadows, light. Crop. Print a sample. Redo. Do again. Sometimes find out that none of the images have meaning. Start again. Choose one print of those that make the first cut and begin to crop in earnest. Cropping means using strips of paper that I move around physically on the photo as I look for the subject at the heart of this object. When there is nothing left after cropping except that which can’t be taken away without losing meaning, fix the crop so it is in the proportion of the board I want to paint on. Occasionally find out that the board I wanted to paint on is nowhere near the right size for the intuitive heart of this image. In which case, begin again with this image or choose another image and begin again there. Draw the entire image on the board, using contour lines in terra cotta pencil.
Mix colours and paint.
When does the object become a subject? When does the subject have meaning?
When I begin to truly see it. Not just see what’s there, but see how its nature and substance reach out into the world and then draw the real world back inside the imagined one.
Sometimes I barely dare. Sometimes I rush forward, barely able to wait for whatever comes next.
Where do you begin?
* * *
Know someone who’d like to see this? Please pass it on.
The blog is a series of posts from one artist’s life. To receive updates, just put your email in the box on the right. Your email address will never be shared.