SOME THOUGHTS ON MY LIFE AS AN ARTIST
Growing up has been but a series of preoccupations
I never had any lack of confidence in my ability to draw. As just another way to express myself, it started out as a way to occupy idle time. My first exhibition was of drawings at age eleven. I studied philosophy and psychology and found I was able to re-organize and develop my thinking which in turn opened up the parameters of my world even further.
My return, after university, if it is a return to painting, is a return to mystery in the sense that losing myself in the work takes me places as much as I take it. Not knowing any limits, while searching for a way to express myself through painting, I experimented and through trial and error, pushed back the boundaries of what could be done with the medium. Finding traditional watercolour methods which reduce everything to a series of washes confining of my need for continuous progression/growth, it dawned on me to reverse the process so that I invent new techniques to express what I see and feel is there, painting it the way we found it and it found us.
This is not to say there is anything wrong with traditional watercolours methods, rather more of a statement about my expectation of what a finished work looks and feels like and working my way – which is the only way I know how – I can express what I have to get out. It is an open ended process in so far that each new work presents new problems needing their own resolutions. Much like reinventing the wheel each time, we come to each idea not knowing exactly what and how we will work it through, which joyfully, is much like walking a tightrope. This gives me the edge I so desperately need; all focus is on losing myself in the process; by maintaining open-mindedness, willingness, and calmness, I in effect open myself up as a channel. Being able to let go comes through in the painting and is what gives it it’s intensity, liveliness, energy…..
The uniqueness and sensibility that the paintings have, evolves as the elements of the work are continuously rethought, adjusted, refined, worked reworked re invented/rediscovered anew, to continue to express what is a continuing, growing love I have for Wendy, and the ever changing relationships with growing adjustment not only to myself, to the world around me, to the ever everyone in our life. Any realism in the work has more to do with an attitude than with a style.
The emphasis is on the process of discovery – of creative interpretation of some aspect of the world – being coupled with a second process of inventive-ness – the personal expression of what is discovered.
Painting is a spiritual process connecting me to the world.
Wendy is an inextricably interwoven part of that process. Not only can she paint, she is integral to the process, in that we both go out and explore together, putting together our ideas, working them through together; assembling, discussing, pushing and pulling and reinforcing each other in envisioning what is before us into something we can express through paint to share with the world. The paintings are the realization of both of us.
We both have a similar eye, feel, understanding and love for nature and the natural, and the civilized places in-between all of which we lose ourselves in and paint. Again the energy in the work is an expression, a confirmation and reaffirmation of the love we have for each other.
Armed with this encouragement and our growing belief in ourselves, we continue to explore our backyard, having spent three separate Decembers wandering through Paris.
Our efforts in Ontario have allowed us to develop our ability to isolate what we feel is the essence of a subject, and to work out a new way to present that aspect of it which both expresses and represents the whole. For us the paintings express the most essential qualities of the experience portrayed
I find light irresistable.
My spirits soar on a sunny day.
I can sit by the water’s edge for days and not feel the need to move.
Heat and humidity allow me to lose my physical edges – subzero temperatures merely outline where I end and the rest of the world begins.
We paint light, atmosphere, the transparency of water. We think of the work as neo or contemporary impressionism.
We paint the heat and humidity, which support all those strong and crazy colours that make up the Tropics – the Caribbean…and winter, well snow is just water that”s froze. Winter is a blanket of white and blue contours of the countryside held seamlessly together
The joyful and continuous response to the paintings by others, not only gives us contemporality, but also lets us know we are not alone in how we feel about the world. In 1989 – it seems so long ago now – we escaped Ontario for the first time ever; our toes touching the eastern seaboard we fell hopelessly in love with the ocean. How uppermost simple – the blue of the sky and the blue of the water divided by a mere horizon line. We immediately sold our souls to the keeper of the seas in exchange for the promise to continue to be able to return. We’re easy. Every time we go back we find it has an ever expanding grip on us
In 1990 we crossed the big pond for the first time and bathed in the buttermilk skies of Paris in December. Sketching our way through the Dordogne we came back next summer to lose ourselves in the waterside life in Venice, exploring the sea and air and light as it continued to work its magic on the city over the centuries.
Continuing to explore Europe, we pursue our natural inclination for the hot tropics – developing our personal vision of the islands by exploring the relationships of heat and humidity to the strong colours found there
What began as an exploration of light and form in our own backyard some 30 years ago, has developed, for us into an ability to capture, share and express our experience / the essential feel of a place no matter where it is in the world