One of the things that I hear from students is, "I want to try your method" and I'm always taken a bit aback by this, since I really never have thought about the "way I paint" as being a method. In fact, if anything, I'm avoiding working routinely in a particular way and continually trying to mix it up. Otherwise, painting would become boring to me and I think that would definitely be reflected in the work. So instead of a method, I think of it as an exploration; "how can I make this work?", "what if?" What if the paper was red, what if I used charcoal under the pastel, what if I got it wet? I don't really worry about my work having a "style" as I'm pretty certain that everyone has a unique hand and my work will just naturally look like my work.
I also have students ask about why I used a lot of mixed media with pastels, what's the advantage? First and foremost, it keeps a piece from being too precious. I'm not exactly sure what it is about mixing media, but somehow I'm a lot more free and willing to experiment when I'm not going with a traditional or purest approach. Mixing media gives my work more spontaneity than straight pastel, or paint. It lends that "happy" accident component. When I use mixed media, I'm much more apt to have a "it's just a piece of paper" type of attitude towards the work.
|Variation done with pastel and an oil wash|
When I start, I always start with what is easiest to my eye. In some cases that could be the sky, in some cases it might be a foreground shape. I don't "always" do it a certain way. I don't want to be formulaic in the process or the result. This might be to my detriment in that it makes for a continually moving, shifting of my work. Very often clients and or students will say, "Well, you've changed your palette". And I'm thinking to myself, well YES!! Isn't that what we do??
|One way to start/ a grisalle underpaintings done with nupastel on Colorfix paper|
|Another way to start done with airbrush acrylics on Wallis paper|
I'm currently in the process of exploring several new directions and have never found such deep satisfaction in my work or in the act of painting. After so many years it's deeply rooted in me to paint and for the first time, I feel like I'm mining my unconscious and letting intuition take over the work... I'm so invigorated by painting, I can barely sleep at night, the images are so strong. Surprises to share soon!!