I work with oil and watercolor as if I were renovating an old barn or tending a vegetable garden. The painting is an ecosystem with its own laws and gifts – weather, gravity, wood, plants, moisture, hot sun, erosion – so I enter cautiously and try to leave no trace. My goal is always a poem without words.
One of the reasons I make paintings is to stop thinking, and also its offshoot, which is worry. Thinking and worrying are intimately connected to time, especially the awareness that time will run out. Instead of thinking and worrying, what I do is improvise. To improvise, I make rules and set up an instrument -- various materials ready to go -- and for a period of time forego everything else, such as paying bills and fixing the roof. In the end, improvisation is a kind of hyper-focus, when time stops.
With my instrument, all the rules change. Now, instead of worrying about global warming, people, shelter, reputation, suffering, and money, I operate in a small ecosystem of pigment, liquid, paper or canvas, tools, and my own impulses. The choices are infinite, but less infinite, so to speak, than in the ecosystem of the real world. When I’m painting, I put thinking and worrying to good use -- sublimating them with an instant feedback system that says “go” or “no-go” to every action.
Whether it's too much darkness, not enough complexity, too much allusion, not enough history, too much geometry, not enough singularity -- when I'm sorting these out, I'm one of the materials.