Talking about art

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My trip to Ottawa was great: the work is beautifully presented at the Orange Gallery, the opening reception well attended and enjoyable, met some interesting, lovely people, and wonderful to spend time with my son and his family. All good.

I gave a talk Thursday evening at the gallery. (I could talk about art all day and night.) It was good, with challenging questions. There were two that were unique and keep me thinking.

First, a man asked why, if I bury so much under the paint, do I not put it beside the canvas I am working on and, basically, save myself the labor of the silkscreening images onto the canvas that I inevitably obscure with paint. At first I had to think a bit, but then I realized it is the immediacy in the process I use. There is a big difference from looking at a face of someone important in my life and actually painting on top of it. The emotions for me can be complex and this painting process personalizes and heightens it. And sometimes clarifies. And maybe resolves.

Another question I think about was about the strength of my work: where does it come from. Does the work give me strength or have I alway been and known my own strength. Not wanting to detail my life story, my understanding is it is a reciprocal process. The painting feeds me as I make them. As well, the paintings are not ultimately about me. They need to take on a life of their own, become larger in scope to be able to effect others lives in a more profound way. Then too, probably as result of expressing strength in my work, I become stronger in other areas of my life as well. My final thought, for now, on this question, is that it all feels like a necessity, that’s what painting is for me. There is power in that.

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