Work Process

Before I can start to create a painting I have to be inspired by a visual or emotional experience and visualize an image of this experience in my mind. Inspiration comes from the study of nature, found objects and the human body, from investigation of feelings and fantasies, from other people's images, and from looking at my own previous paintings.

Sometimes the visualization of an experience works out as a final image. At other times the painting evolves from the initial image and leads me down a completely unexpected path. When I work on a series of paintings I try to not restrict myself too much to specific ideas or concepts because this blocks the creative process and results in a final work that lacks emotional expression.

 

My approach to making a painting varies substantially depending on whether the subject matter is a still-life, landscape, figure study or an abstraction. Sometimes I will make studies in pencil or charcoal on paper that are almost images in their own right. When I achieve an exciting and strong drawing I may use this as the basis for a painting. This approach I use primarily with still-lifes and abstractions. Working with landscapes or figure studies I tend to sketch directly on the canvas.

Starting on a painting I usually mix colors that will appear natural and I visualize in my mind how the colors will interact before putting them on the canvas. I will change the colors as the work progresses and often do that by mixing colors directly on the canvas enabling subtle tone and color variations.

 

Most of my paintings are made alla prima which gives the work a fresh and casual appearance. Lately I have been studying and working with one of the traditional old-masters techniques where the painting is build up through the use of opaque under paintings and layers of transparent glazes. The resulting paintings have a depth and glow to them that I cannot obtain with the alla prima method but they also loose some of the immediate freshness.

 

Painting alla prima I only have one opportunity to apply the paint and obtain my desired expression whereas painting in layers allows me to keep changing details. Each method has its strengths and weaknesses and I find that some images are best expressed when painting alla prima and others when painting in layers.

It is important to me that my work is durable and can stand the test of time. Therefore, I use the highest quality materials as well as the most reliable methods and techniques in my work. I also apply two layers of protective varnish to my finished paintings after they have thoroughly dried out for 6 to 12 months.

My images are mostly created for emotional reasons but will contain both emotional and intellectual expressions many of which have been incorporated subconsciously during the painting process. This enables me to use my own work to discover new things about myself and the world we live in. As such, my paintings end up having specific meanings to me, but it gives me great pleasure when my work stimulates new experiences in other people on their own terms.

Making art is becoming a substantial part of whom I am. Getting started on a new project is always a little nerve-wrecking but the sensation of working with and completing a successful image is incredible. I used to think creating art requires great talent now I know that it mostly takes hard work. The work process is often tedious but is well worth the effort.