For me, painting is research into imagination, interpretation and the human condition, though it unfolds unselfconsciously out of inquisitiveness and delight in the process.
I start a painting through a combination of being in-touch with painting materials; feeling an affinity to colour and texture of whatever the product is that I’m using; paint, pastel etc. Plus the sensation I get in connection with the environment.
Trial and error
The familiarity with painting materials primarily comes from experiments. I like to test different paints, surfaces and mark making. I’m not interested in settling on one way of painting; I try different approaches because that feels alive and relevant to me. The use of different styles and techniques is like having another tool of expression; this isn’t an original approach; David Hockney is a master of the many styles approach if you’re not familiar with it check-out examples of his work from the 1970s and ’80s. Also, it’s just natural to investigate materials and styles as an inquisitive human, many people explore their self-expression like this.
The sensory experience from the environment expands my awareness of myself. It’s a bit like meditation and managing to get to an observational space of watching the mind; though in this case, I’m recording mind, body and my environment where the boundaries between these mental and physical spaces are blurred.
Painting in the now
Above, I have outlined the starting point of making a picture; then because the initial experience is a momentary event in my brain, the painting becomes another different, continuous event. At the core is the initial experience, and then the artwork documents my attempt to capture and crystallise something impossible to hold onto while becoming something new within the process.
The physical properties of the painted surface become a new territory with a new material/imagined sense of place. Just as there is no stopping point in the way a mind works, always connecting, expecting, evaluating, believing, so the painting is a continuation of this process.
Consciousness, art and painting
This process reflects some of the questions I have had about human identity and consciousness.
Is anything fixed, definite or certain?
The main thing in making art often is letting go of your expectation and your idea.Agnes Martin