Traverse: Body in Landscape

isotropy5&jlongI make large-scale acrylic paintings of moving perspectives through landscapes, and use running as a primary form of research. Running is the vehicle by which I access different modes of perception. The type of running that I am talking about can focus attention, as in meditation, by funneling the consciousness into the present moment. I strive to paint the richness of this action and the sensitivity of landscape that originates from this embodied experience. This is the difference between painting an image of a place, versus painting an experience of a place. The link that connects how I research and collect content for paintings with the way I actually create in the studio is presence – or mindfulness. I seek a similar state of mindfulness in my painting practice as I do in my running. Steven Saitzyk in his book, “Place your thoughts here: meditation for the creative mind,” names this state original space. This is about working from a state of awareness; being able to take in many things at once like composition, color, feeling, energy and synthesize these in paint. Why paint? There is a decadence to paint, and a richness of the pigment and tactility. The way it moves and is susceptible to so much manipulation from gesture is what draws me again and again to this medium. And COLOR acts on the body. Color has agency, an energy – or a PULSE. I want to keep that alive. I want the viewer to see every color I lay down, consciously or not. This lends the work a brightness, as previous layers glow through, and mimics a watercolor technique which is the medium I use often in the field. My method of painting in innumerable thin layers allows me to access a state between control and release. A brush stroke, like a voyage, is an act of curiosity, of exploration and of discovery. As is the landscape, in painting there will always be terra incongnita. But it is this mystery, magic, and the unknown, pregnant with potential that excites me and propels me forwards in my investigations.