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Free-will(ed) paintings

Lately my paintings seem to be taking on a new flavor, doing things I hadn’t planned.  One such painting seems to have more atmosphere than color; this is unusual for me.  The big question now is:  do I want them to stay the way they seem to want to be or, phrased another way, how much will do I exert onto them.

Several years ago, twenty-six to be exact, when I first moved to Nova Scotia, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I want a painting to do.  My main concerns are space, mass, weight and I want to create these with color, not form.  So the color itself becomes the form.  When a painting falls short of this, I feel it as unsettling.

There is a lot to be said for spontaneity, coincidence, randomness, but there is also freedom of choice, my choice.  The painting process is one of continual choosing.  “If I do this, it will effect that; then what.”  Even though paintings often seem to have a mind of their own, I now have to decide which way to direct the painting.  It’s easy to say, as I often do with students, try it, see what happens, but harder when so much is invested in a painting.  Paint, canvas, stretchers.  And other paintings, a body of work which talks amongst itself.

In general, I’d say my work is changing, but subtley.  Something about the main space.  I’ll have to wait and see what happens next.


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