June 21, 2017 on News, Words Of Art by steve



I have often been asked what I think about when I paint, or how do I come up with the inspiration. Do the ideas just pop up in my mind; does it take something to stimulate the process? Each painting is different some hit like a bolt of lightning and out of the blue, an idea just comes completely readymade to paint. Other times I will be doing something completely unrelated but a thought will come to me and I must find away to paint what I am feeling. There have even been times that a painting is made because the last time I painted this idea it was commercially successful and I’d like to make a buck.

I need variety when I paint. Just painting one thing one way would bore me. I need to start each painting different from the last one. I may start a painting by doing a full drawing on the canvas or do a black and white tonal painting and add color on top once the map is laid on. A lot of the time I just start painting one shape I see then adding another and another until a finished painting appears.

I consider a painting finished when I have said all I want to say about the subject. Often my work has the splashed on sketchy feel. It helps the viewer to connect with the work when they have something to finish in their mind. If I give all the information to the viewer then they will have nothing to add and will not have the joy of joining the artist in finishing the work of art. I want to just say enough that the subject is recognizable but not labored.

Drawing is key to my style of painting; an artist must have a strong foundation if they expect to create something that will stand the test of time.  “Well drawn is well painted” is a truth I adhere to. Picasso could paint the figure with marvelous bravado and that grounding allowed him to distort and manipulate his subjects with the strength that he did. I believe you can’t simplify something until you understand it.

Music plays a huge role in my painting. I listen to music all the way through a paintings growth. If I’m creating a strong masculine painting I will listen to ZZ top or BTO. But if I’m feeling nostalgic and peaceful I will play Rita McNeil or The Rankin Family. And the mood of the music will affect the paint application. I also love how with good music there are compositional guidelines to the creating quality music and then seeing how each performer can maneuver within the parameters of music composition. How they will handle their next bar of music and sound different than everyone else. This is what I try to do with my art. There are rules (more suggestions really) of composition and each artist has to find away to be unique in the structure that is the same for each artist. We know what works so how can we manipulate the rules enough to be different but not to go so far that you make no sense at all.

I sometimes think about what I have contributed to art, have a made a statement at all? Answer I really don’t care the process, the doing is what thrills me not the end result. I like to think that even if no one liked my work I would still do the work and I hope that I will be remembered for things greater than my art by those closest to me.