After 35 years as an academic and art teacher, I find myself reflecting more and more upon author Henry Miller’s proclamation, “Paint as you like and die happy” and trumpeter Miles Davis’ statement “Never play anything straight.”
While I have great respect for artists who work with great seriousness and passion, I feel that my work is somewhat about de-mystifying the business a little and challenging some the hoary clichés that have grown up around art-making.
I am in awe of those who possess the illustrative skills to make accurate images. However, try as I might, I can’t get mine to turn out “right.” I suppose this has to do with that as much as I desire to create an image with a reference, I’m probably more concerned with the process and the nature of the materials I use.
Paint has intrinsic properties of light, contrast, texture, etc. It seems to me that I should allow the materials an equal say in the process. It’s interesting to me to find out what happens when you experiment and push the envelope.
Improvisation for me is the most rewarding method of creating something. Starting with some rudimentary, often harebrained idea and seeing where it leads is most rewarding to me and keeps me constantly paying attention in order to see what the next possibility is.
All of this must happen, of course, within a compositional framework which is a way of saying that things must be balanced. The interesting challenge for me is to obtain a sense of balance between a chosen subject and the material’s desire to do what it wants.
Hopefully I can bring this off not only in a way that entertains me, but allows the viewer to relate to the work as well as leaving room for a high degree of personal interpretation.