I’d like to share my vision of the beauty of the world with you. Nearly every day here are moments that shout out: Capture me! And when that happens I have no choice, I’ve got to get it on paper.
I’m pretty clear that it’s not me who’s in charge of the moments that “stick”, or the images that arise in my head and that challenge me to do justice to them. To classify my work, the closest I can come is calling it “Approachable Abstraction”. I’ve heard other artists who should know, call it contemporary postmodern – whatever.
But a definite style I do have, and after more than ten years working on it (I started in the fall of 2000), I find there are six subject areas that the work fits into:
Did you know there are lines in the clouds? I see lines everywhere. And some places have better looking clouds than others! To me the shape of the line is the most important thing. I believe in economy of line, if I can make it serve more than one purpose I will try. And lines need to be elegant, curves with tension, recurve and relief. And the line must go somewhere, abstract or not – they must make sense – and not end.
The Western Canadian animals that I come across in my travels often stop me in my path and ask me to pay attention, “sketch me , sketch me”, I hear them insist. I try to do them justice, and make an effort to understand their side. A lot of them struggle, and they could use some help. They don’t need much, in the main they can get along well without us – it’s just that there are so many of us…
Usually the settings come by surprise, and the situations are over in a flash. Even if I had a camera ready it would be too late to try and capture. The other thing I have found is that if I do work from reference photos I become a slave to the details, loosing impact and something else (have to think about that some more – but the lesson for me is just don’t do it).
The faces are a relatively recent addition to my work. I have a sense now, that I had to work through a whole bunch of stuff before I could feel the motivation to interpret the faces that become important in my life…
One thing is for sure, portrait work is engaging, challenging and leads to all sorts of questions while I’m working on the piece and later on as well.
The work that fits into this category mostly seems to have jagged lines and some sharp points. I have decided on Energy as a name for this as the act of sketching them seems to increase my energy level. Also I’ve notices that if I look at these pieces after some time, I do seem to get sort of uplifted. But it may also be that a Energy type of piece results when I feel particularly energetic. I try not to analyze too much, there was a time when I did and it did not do anything for my art (in fact it made it more difficult to get into it). Paul Van Ginkel gave me a nice comment a couple of years ago: “Your job is to create the artwork, it’s the viewers, the collectors job to react to it, think about it, appreciate it – not yours!”.
This category of work is a bit of a catch-all. The pieces mostly do have a lot of curves, I know I feel good when I find myself doing one of those.