I spent 26 years working in higher education. I researched the dynamics of people using language, metaphor, empathy. I wrote books and articles. I left to paint full-time in 2014, desperate to open up a stream of visual imagination that had felt restricted and contained. I learnt to access and to trust my long-neglected intuition. I was curious to see what would happen. Dynamic painting happened.
Medium and size: each of these paintings uses acrylic paint on heavy watercolour paper. The paper size is A2, and the image is approx. 40 x 58 cm.
The process: Dynamic painting is a process of working with paint on paper that has emerged during the first months of my Berlin residency. It combines formal, contemporary painting methods, learnt through art school courses, with the practice of ‘intuitive painting’ that I learnt in 2015. Often, but not always, it involves language. It starts with colour.
Standing in front of the white paper, a colour offers itself, and a particular brush wants to hold it. I start to paint. I let the brushload of colour find a way across the surface; one stroke follows another. At some point, another colour wants to be used, another brush.
This is how it proceeds, each painting gesture responding to previous ones.
As the painting forms itself, I bring in more formal considerations of composition, contrast and consistency. Sometimes it becomes a narrative painting with characters and landscapes; more often it remains abstract.
And language? I pause in the process to make notes in a journal about whatever strikes me most strongly. I ask questions of the painting and I look deeply into it. I often can clearly recognise the feelings from memory or experience that are being expressed in the painting. A title nearly always suggests itself. Sometimes words or phrases want to be written in the painting itself. Sometimes, the writing becomes a poem that works alongside the painting.
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