How to talk to a painting

Someone asked me today what I think about when I am painting. I said "Nothing. I don't think about anything." Well, that is true and not true. I don't plan what I am doing, how a painting should be, what I should be doing with it. In truth, I let the painting talk to me, tell me what it wants to be, how to get there, what I need to do to help it along. I do respond. So it is a dialogue, a communication, not just what I think but what both of us are thinking. I doubt if anyone else would say a painting is thinking. But I do say it. It is not only telling me what it wants but also what it wants me to do.


I was watching a documentary earlier today on Joan Didion. She apparently needed to write to know what she was thinking and feeling. Perhaps I need to paint to know what I need to think and feel. I do know my paintings tell me what I need to be. That is not always a straight forward task. Sometimes it takes me years to understand all of this and to do what I am asked to do.

It Is Not What You Think; 60" x 84"; oil & collage on canvas