I spend lots of time in the woods, by the water, wilderness of the northwest, Colorado and California. I ride my black Arabian mare, galloping through the old growth forest trailed by an irish wolfhound named Griffin. As we move through the woods and vistas I notice colors as the contract with one another. What perfect relationships are formed in nature that I would have never conjured on my own. I notice shapes, line and form.
I especially pay attention to the shapes between the forms. The abstract negative shapes between the leaves and branches for example. Lanie, my mare, Griffin and I pause under ancient cedar and listen to water falling. Feeling into the spirit of the place. The forest, especially the ancient ones are rich with a presence. It is this presence that I try to bring back to my studio. This is the difficult thing. I can bring back the colors but the spirit of the place is the important bit.
Back in the studio I stretch my canvases. I do this because I want the finest of quality materials and workmanship but also this is where the painting begins. With a relationship with the surface. An honoring of the work that went into its creation and an understanding of it.
I work on five or six paintings at one time ranging in size from 16X20 inches to 36X48 inches. Although I also have several small ones and a few very large going at the same time. I worked in watercolors for many year and still use glazing and many layers of paint as I did with watercolors. I work on each painting then allow it to dry for a day. Building up many layers. It takes weeks to finish a painting but in the end the work pays off.
I had a Buddhist art teacher, Robert Spellman, tell me meditation and art are like secret lovers. You do them both but separately.