In preparation for an upcoming show, I have been reflecting a bit on my own process of creating since I just spent a considerable amount of time teaching it to students. I have been contemplating why I choose the colors I choose, the textures, or draw lines the way I do. Because my process is so intuitive, its challenging for me to describe why I paint the way that I paint. I know that I love pink and blue. I also know that I love paintings that are lighter in hue, but I also think contrast is important. Texture and layers turn me on, and lately I am all about layering India ink, then acrylic, then taking watercolor pencil and drawing directly into the acrylic (it leaves an indentation and the pigment gets expressed because the acrylic paint is wet). I then finish off the painting by cutting out organic shapes found in nature from decorative collage papers (I cut the shapes free-handed). I often will go back in and layer the inks, paints, and add any more papers that the painting is ‘calling’ for.
The textured lines in this piece were created by dragging a very sharp pencil into acrylic paint. The layer of India ink below then shows through when I scrape that paint away with a sharp point. I like the contrast and texture it creates.
After many layers of ink, acrylic, and paper, this painting now feels complete. I know a painting is finished when it ‘clicks’ for me. Until I feel that inside, I need to keep working, no matter how frustrated I can get or uncertain how to continue. Eventually it will open up for me and the internal ‘click’ or knowing that its done will happen.
So why do we love what we love? For me, its comes down to feeling. I feel colors, lines, movements. I know a beautiful sunset turns me on (which has lots of blue, orange, and pink), but I also know I just love the way bright vibrant colors look on a wood panel. I like them to feel fresh. I also admire how other artist’s create and how different we are all with our aesthetic choices. Its important to experiment and to be true to you, as well as to stay open to what you may be overlooking or resist. Creative expression, it is many forms, is a constant evolution or expression of the soul. That’s why I know I will never grow tired of it. I imagine (and hope) that I will be an old woman sitting on a porch, drinking my sweet iced tea and still making time to paint. In fact, I have no doubt about that. What a comforting thought to have such a long relationship with something that is uniquely yours.