Back when I was a wee artist at university, I gravitated naturally towards abstraction. It started in my life drawings and morphed into pure abstraction once I started painting. Before university I’d almost never picked up a paintbrush. I often wonder what would have happened if I’d learned some painting techniques during those formative years, but painting lessons weren’t exactly on the family agenda and definitely not on my own radar. As for university, UVic was heavy on theory, but not technique, so most of what I’ve learned has been through experimentation, the best teacher. Good thing, because as an adult I haven’t taken a single workshop… and really should.
When I started painting again, after a couple of decades of teaching, more university, travelling, having kids and growing up, I immediately wanted to pick up where I’d left off. On the left is one of the last paintings I finished as an art student. But I didn’t. Looking at it from a positive perspective, I knew the next few years at the easel would be my real training and education, and I had so many non-abstract avenues I wanted to explore. (In other words, I chickened out!)
At this stage in my life/career/journey, after a long hiatus and much reflection, I knew it was now or never. In the past year or so I have become obsessed with looking at the work of certain artists who either paint in a non-representational style or whose work has subject matter but is distilled down to the essentials — no obscuring of its pure nature. In the past six months I have been experimenting with different drawing directions and slowly my ideas for my last two paintings started taking shape. This work clearly draws on what I’ve done in the past, but I have tried to pare it down to colour, composition and sensation. It’s hard for me to go as minimalist as this, and I know I have further to go. But I have been seduced by it, and I’m more excited about painting than I have been for years — since well before Adam died actually. It’s fantastic to have this feeling again.