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An Artist's Perspective: Creative Process

People sometimes ask me how I make some of my paintings.

Recently I walk past an old warehouse on a fishing dock while in southern Florida. I notice the old door leading into the place. That door was at least 100 years old. It had 15 faded coats of paint, hundreds of scratches and gouges; it was cracking and peeling from a thousand rainfalls and 100 degree days, and the oils from the skin of everyone who entered it.

I photographed it.

This door offers possible color scheme ideas for my next painting.

In my studio I have built a panel from repurposed plywood and pine. I have applied a heavy coat of glue to it and now stretch heavy cotton or linen canvas over the surface and allow it to dry.

I mark over the raw canvas with soft graphite and then paint over that with a gesso which is made of rabbit skin glue and titanium white.

After studying my photos for color ideas I mix paint and attack the canvas with flat tip brushes and broad strokes. Sometimes I use the brush handles to cut lines into the wet paint. Strokes and cuts form texture. Graphite bleeds through. Paint spatters and drips and some of these lovely mistakes are saved.

I follow intuition and a charged deep within myself. I mix and apply new colors. This union plays out over hours and days until my heart tells me the work has fully evolved.

I then studied the painting for weeks to be sure of balance and to make sure this work has a full voice I intended for it. I have a duty to this work.

This painting and I, we're the same thing.

I eventually build a frame for the work in my shop and finish the painting with a coat or two of varnish. And from here it goes on to an exhibition where new eyes can judge it.

It's bittersweet.