Sometimes people will ask me, “When you start some artwork do you have a finished piece in mind?” Well, sometimes yes but more often than not when I am facing the blank canvas or paper it is a moment like teetering on the edge of a cliff… both terrifying and exciting! Right before the first bit of paint goes onto the canvas is the moment when anything can be, when everything is possible, when I can give birth to something that I’ve never been able to before! It is the moment that Frank Geary refers to as “that dangerous moment”! It is that moment into which all of the possibilities are compressed, that “big bang” moment of creativity!
I don’t pretend to be engaged in all possible artistic expressions. I am keenly aware of areas in which I have no experience. In fact I sometimes venture into those areas in order to give myself a bit of technical experience as well as to just see what will happen! My involvement with the artwork and art process is an involvement with the discovery of what wants to be, of what wants to come out, of finding out what is poised on the edge of coming into being! Over time I have found that I most like artistic processes which involve the loss of a certain degree of control, processes which involve co-operating with the element of chance as a piece is coming into being!
An example of this would be my “Poured Paintings” which actually involve pouring diluted paint onto the canvas, manipulating the canvas and the paint and then at some point “freezing” the pour through the use of a hair dryer. The excitement that I feel as colors blend and flow is beyond anything that my words can describe! It is an intense moment of feeling incredibly alive and present to the moment! At the end of such a process the finished piece is much more than what my limited vision might have had in mind for it when I began!
We need to develop the willingness to step outside the boundaries that we erect in our life… art-wise and otherwise. On January 29th, 1989 when an editor-friend asked me to do some artwork for her magazine I experienced a crucial moment of terror! My first impulse was hearing an interior voice saying, “But I’m not a professional artist, I can’t do that kind of work, I’ve never had the training!” Immediately upon the heels of this came another voice asking, “How do you know? Are you still a 16-year-old in high school art class? Why not try it and see what your newly-birthed 40-year-old self can do?” To my astonishment within mere months that assignment lead to a gallery show, covers for a few publications, entering national competitions and receiving awards! Now 23 years later I no longer tell myself what I can’t do in either art or life, but automatically ask myself, “Why not?” Try it! You too might come to like it!