When I paint, I listen to my materials, my own voices and the paintings themselves. I reduce the noise, almost to a void. When it’s quiet, I can channel impulses that I’m not consciously aware of – such as the colors of a glacial landscape or the cancers of a presidential election. Still, I don’t make a picture of something.
Instead, I improvise. My instrument is oil and canvas or watercolor and paper. Sometimes the instrument includes other surfaces or detritus; or other supports, such as malleable aluminum. Whatever the materials, the painting is an ecosystem with its own laws and gifts – like weather, gravity, plants, hot sun and erosion. I enter cautiously and try to leave no trace.
When I improvise, time stops. For a few moments, instead of worrying about the world, I can just be, like weather or a wave or a breathing body. My body says “go” or “no-go” to every increment of line and color. Whether it's too much darkness, not enough complexity, too much allusion, not enough history, too much geometry, not enough singularity – when I’m engaging with these, I become part of the ecosystem.
In addition to listening to my materials and my own voices, I listen to the paintings themselves. Until they’re finished, they complain. Typically, the complaint is “not enough clarity,” or simply “not enough.” I aspire to a poem without words.