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The act of painting offers a way to explore an idea, a theme, an object, through colour and texture. Initially the exploration might appear obvious - like "the family home." But as the painting process takes over, suddenly the 'family home' leads straight out the door and into memory and emotion - both previously stowed and barely recalled. The initial exploration serves only as a kind of gossamer, a delicate web into which I can weave discoveries. As the threads link one to another, a painting is born.

It pays to keep alert. Memory, an event, a piece of music, an object, a bird, a leaf or a tree can all serve as departure points and painting fodder. They prompt me to see differently, to keep persevering in order to tease out the essence of the thing and to understand why I care enough about it to commit paint to canvas.

I've learned it also pays to trust the process, that where I initially thought I might be headed is not necessarily where I'll end up. If I'm willing to just keep exploring I can move beyond walls I didn't even know I'd erected. And that's when painting is at its best - when after hours of layering on colour, scraping it off, adding texture and always looking, looking, looking, suddenly I've revealed something new to myself. It takes trust, knowing, candour, critical assessment, and delight to carry a painting to completion. And even when I think a work is as complete as it can be, the feeling that I haven't quite found out all I need to learn from that painting serves as the prompt to start another - and another. There is always more to discover.


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