I went down the path of realism for a while. When I stepped back and looked at what I was creating, it didn’t ignite any passion within me, only pride.
There is something satisfying in painting a realistic portrait of a landscape that is meaningful to me, but I desire more than satisfaction. I desire total immersion. Replicating something that a camera could do - a machine without a heart or mind - was of no interest to me.
When my brush hits the canvas, I want it to give the paint an opportunity to sing.
If it’s watercolor, I want it to drip and flow. If it’s oil, I want to hear the scraping of the palette knife against the canvas, to watch raw color mix within one single brush stroke.
These things keep me returning to the studio day after day - seeking something unknown but always on the verge of discovery. The process is endlessly enticing, almost intoxicating. The result matters very little, except to act as a snapshot of my connection to the land that I paint.
What is life if not experiences? To paint is to experience. It is far too easy to forget the primal, total freedom I feel in nature when I’m sitting inside. So when I pick up the brush and swipe the canvas, I get to relive the energy I felt standing within the misty valley, surrounded by towering peaks, sprawling green fields, feeling the icy wind rush past me. Listening to the sheep calling in the distance, and the hawks screech above. Those feelings and sounds are transferred to the canvas. If I allow my subconscious to make choices along the way, I am once more immersed in nature.
Immersion within the process is a lifestyle choice.