How does anyone's creative process begin?
Mine begins by seeing something wondrous and beautiful and mysterious. The mystery lies in the attraction of what I see; the painting is an investigation into that mystery. Sometimes painstakingly slow, but always revelatory, the work teaches me of what I hold dear: simple comforts, nature's chaos, the gentle hearts of dogs.
And the paint somehow goes beyond just vision and is related to each of my senses. In all the successful paintings, the emotion and energy of the subject comes through. It's as if the brush is connected to my central nervous system. In those paintings, the subject is not rendered slavishly to the standards of my vision, but more to the standards of my heart. The energetic slashes and scribbles build up to a reality that I can hardly explain. The paintings do that for me.
I begin by walking and looking, taking the time to muse and watch how light dances over our world. The light does its magic on each and every surface. I observe. Then, I snap a shot with my handy phone. Later, I may crop the photo to improve the composition within some constraints.
At this point, it may sit in my computer files until I can no longer stand the mystery lingering within. I directly paint a grissaille version on the panel or canvas. Through a series of corrections in color and form, in fits and flurries, the subject comes closer and closer to the inner vision of my subject. Usually about halfway into the painting, I fall into doubt and dismay, thinking that I made a wrong turn. Soon, though, inch by inch it revives and gains a life of its own.
At the point the painting is finished, I celebrate.
And start the process over again on the next one.