This year I tripped upon the cultural meme often referred to as 'minimalism'. Everyone has their personal take on it and some even hotly debate it as something only the privileged middle class could dream of pursuing. However, for myself I have embraced it as a general mindset that has far reaching implications in all aspects of my life, especially in my art.

 

In simplest terms, I have asked the honest question of ‘what works and what doesn’t’.

 

What feels ‘right’— do more of that.

 

Relinquish the extraneous.

 

Keep it simple.

 

Don’t over think it.

 

Do the work I want to see.

 

Trust the process.

 

Flow.

 

 

My colour choice has changed somewhat from a radical colour carnival to a slightly more pared back, limited palette often with 'pops' of colour amongst a more neutral colour dominance.

 

Sophisticate.

 

Hint at reality, but make it my own.

 

Keep it simple.

 

 

There are elements I have kept and for those keen on the nuances of my work you'll likely still see them. I have also revisited early inspirations. I've always loved the art of Japanese printmaking and how this art form inspired so many other artists throughout the early 20th century and beyond. Having a background in graphic design, I can't help but feel that inner stirring when I see such strong design, colour choice and masterful line work. I also adore the work of Egon Schiele and admire his use of line and form as a means of conveying emotion in his work.

 

Line as a design element and path for personal expression.

 

Emphasis on shapes to support linear motifs.

 

Energy, movement, emotion. Spirit.

 

Don’t over do it.

 

Just enough.

 

 

The black or darker line I'm incorporating into the compositions hints of woodblock prints and I am thinking through the process of painting as a printer would—somewhat 'backwards'.

 

‘Negative’ shapes and spaces.

 

Forms emerging from the background.

 

Thinking ahead.

 

Planning the work, working the plan.

 

Being present.

 

 

I am becoming more captivated by the Land not only as a visual support to the animals in my compositions, but I am falling in love with it in its own right.

 

Listening to the subtle voice of the natural world.

 

Nature as spiritual teacher.

 

New opportunities for design and composition challenges.

 

Immediate. Beautiful.

 














Anyone who takes a cursory glance at my work will notice that I love colour. For me, as for many artists colour is emotional and powerful. I love the interplay of hues against one another and the reinterpretation of the world through its (sometimes) arbitrary use.

 

More recently, I have been experimenting with limited palette paintings and colour mixing theory. I have a nerdy love of colour theory and I greatly admire those painters who understand colour and have become masters with mixing and using it.

 

Compositionally speaking, a limited palette can allow for more colour harmony throughout the piece thereby becoming more pleasing to the eye (of course this is subjective). The act of painting itself can shift a little as well from being very preoccupied with which colour to squeeze out next and hoping it will match once applied, to harnessing the power of colour  so more attention can be put into the painting itself. So, more flow can be present.

 

There are artists I admire and whos work I adore where they simply squeeze paint direct from the tube and go to town. Who knows if they understand colour theory but they know colour. They have an intuition for it and it shows. I approach some of my paintings this way when the spirit moves and often I like the rebel quality of flipping the bird so to speak to colour theory and paint mixing. But then there are those times where the words of the late Robert Genn speak deep to my inner artist... "Quality is always in style". For me, this has translated into spending more time developing my colour theory know-how and I must say, I'm loving the deeping of this understanding.

 

I will always use bright colours, and most likely a complete reinterpretation of what the subjects' colours are in reality (think the Fauvists), but there's something so enjoyable about mixing semi-neutrals and sophisticated greys alongside their bright compliments. The painting starts to find its harmony and the process itself takes on a new level of enjoyment I never thought possible.

 

The humbling quality that comes with being an artist means I know I'll spend the rest of my life in perpetual studenthood, growing and adapting and learning. Kind of like life.














I've been working on some new, larger pieces for an upcoming show at Adele Campbell Fine art in Whistler next month. What I've noticed since the beginning of 2016, is how much more 'flow' I seem to have in my process.

 

Flow is something many artists and creatives speak about. It's seems elusive, often conjuring up images of some Zen-like meditation practice followed by effortless action and thus perfection in the finished product. What I've found is 'perfection' is often not present at all the end of a painting—because afterall, what IS perfection anyway?—but more honest and real work seems to be staring back at me.

 

For me, flow is how the process of painting changes. It does seem more 'effortless' in a way, but the big one is how much I more I enjoy the process of painting. TIme becomes invisible and life seems to feel somehow, eternal, ever-present. Decisions are made that somehow feel 'right' and suprisingly, often are once standing back and taking a discerning look.

 

What I'm witnessing is how all the personal marks and touches that have always been present in my work, are somehow all remixing into something that is becoming concretely 'me'. The gauge of this is the inner knowing that once finished, the work feels honest and real to me.

 

In Taoism, “wei wu wei”, which is often translated as “action without action” or “effortless doing” seems to be a cornerstone to cultivating a healthy and productive creative process. I love how the practice of this concept is translating in my painting process and finished work.

 




 

 

 

 

 

 


Things are evolving in the studio. Although animals are still a prominent subject, the way I'm approaching my paintings is changing. Imagination, childhood, optimism and irony are all elements working through each piece.

 

Why?

 

Recently, I've surrendered to being human.

 

Yes, you read that right.

 

Being human is messy. It's beautiful and brutal. It's our imperfections, our faults and all our shit we don't want to face sometimes that wonderfully creates our kalidescope life of broken colours. I've realized the arrogance in thinking I could outsmart millions of years of evolution, and genetic coding and cultural conditioning...that I could outsmart things as they are. I have surrendered to being me, with all my imperfections and my past being messy, broken and full of what if's while an unwritten future awaits. These elements all collide with maturity and understanding, with compassion and acceptance.

 

The brush moves with vibrant colours; animals that have been companions in real life or in imagination possess the space. Abstract shapes–broken, beautiful colours–reflect optimism and beauty amidst the human experience of uncertancies and unconcious conditioning. Dreamscapes are taking predominance over the known landscapes. New terriorities are being discovered.