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What’s the story


Here I am trying to explain the unexplainable. Not easy but interesting to try. Abstract art is non-verbal communication, not about words. So how does one interpret an abstract painting much less paint one. Where does one start, anyway.

One of my students in Baddeck said her painting instructor suggested she tell her story in her painting. Wanting to work with abstraction, she didn’t feel this helped her get started. She did find, in the workshop, that just making a “mess”, allowing the paint to express itself, she was able to create a more satisfying painting, one in which she felt a connection.

I’ve been thinking about this. When painting yesterday, I realized it is not my story I am telling but the painting’s story. In my work, I come to this through the back door. I start with personal images. For this, I use actual photos of people important in some way in my life, screen print these images onto the canvas, and then react to these photographs with words and paint. Only then do I feel like I am painting. For this, I take the message from what I see, listen to what the painting wants to say, what story it wants to convey. It is often not at all what I thought it would be. I don’t have a plan. It’s not about me. There is nothing of me left. Just paint. The story the paint wants to tell.


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