As a kid my one bedroom wall was covered in a huge collage made up from hundreds pictures and words. I scoured through countless magazines, collecting my favourites, putting it together in a way that literally made my heart jump. I could stare at that collage for which felt like hours on end.
I still do the same thing now.
I collect beautifully crafted words from ancient philosophy and modern day gurus, from poetry, lyrics and prose. I still have thousands of pictures that make my heart jump. Some turn into simple sketches, some into doodles, some make it into the paintings.
For as long as I can remember I have been confused by what we feel, what we think, the choices we make and how often there is massive mismatch between it all. Now I am fascinated with what we can learn and unlearn if we become aware of our subconscious thoughts and beliefs, looking for what we can learn from our feelings, how we can shape the way we think, how creativity is a state of flow that can be accessed – how all of this begins by practising mindfulness. Finding role models and teachers who have mastered their way of doing it convinces me that it can be done.
Painting intuitively is my way to make new connections between my mind and heart. I paint pictures that connect what I am thinking, learning and unlearning with what I want to feel more of.
I paint on large canvasses with acrylics by making marks, playing with colours, creating contrast, adding words and images that resonate and inspire. Recurrent themes are silence, joy, peace, connectedness, growth and centredness. Images are of birds, plants, light and people in a certain state of being.
My process is an experiment in making marks; expressive marks, patterns, printing, etching, stamping, masking, stippling, dripping and doodles – always making a mark I haven’t made before. I use brushes of all sizes and any object that can be dipped in paint. Words that resonate and inspire are added to the mix. The experimentation continues with colour, glazes and contrast, choosing colours I like and dislike. This process is repeated layer after layer. At some point I start adding images and blocking out negative space. If a particular image doesn’t work it is simply covered with more and more layers. There are no mistakes in this process. Making a seemingly wrong choice just becomes a new mark. The most challenging part is to stay open, trusting and curious. I know I am going in the right direction when my heart gives a little jump. It is a great day painting if I focus on the process and not the end result. Being process focused is the skill I am trying to master when I step in front of the canvas. I am learning every day, even though it is quite often the hard way.
The end result is always an intriguing painting, a painting that surprises me, a painting that I could not have planned. One is drawn into the painting, noticing the different marks, colours, words, images, thoughts and feelings, being curious and having a sense of wonder of how it all came together.
Looking back at how a painting developed I connect new dots between my mind and heart.
I tell a new story.