The paintings begin as pastel drawings on raw, stretched canvas. I simply start by making a thick line using the square shaped pastel stick on its side, and every other line that follows is a response to the one that came before it. On certain canvases I use only black pastel and on others I use assorted colors. Sometimes a pattern is made, other times a more random system takes shape. Once I determine that the drawing is finished, I apply a clear matte medium over the surface to 'fix’ the drawing in place. The soft pastel is easy to smudge, and so I work carefully to preserve the drawing as much as possible, using large trowels to apply the liquid matte medium. Sometimes I allow the trowel to make its own mark on the surface, leaving behind a residue of a gesture and the texture of the medium.
Once the drawing is set under several layers of matte medium, I start applying oil paint. Each painting presents a unique set of concerns to address. I might choose to highlight the pastel drawing by carefully painting on or around the lines in a way that reinforces the pattern, or I might decide to drag a large swath of thick paint directly over the drawing as a way to create space and a sense of depth. Often I do both. I mix colors in cups for brush application but I also apply paint to the surface directly out of the tube. Sometimes I scoop up leftover paint with a knife and flick it onto the canvas. I switch back and forth between painting hard-edged, geometric shapes and more loose, organic gestures. If I paint in one style for too long, I tend to respond by painting something in a different way, using a different tool. In the process, the paintings go through various stages where things seem to either ‘work’ or not, and there is no good way to judge this other than by trusting my intuition and my experience. There is a balancing act between spontaneity and calculation that I am frequently negotiating, because the paintings have their own logic, and my concerns are not literal. Rather, I’m motivated by revelations that happen in the process of the painting becoming one thing and then another, and then another, and then another.
HAW CONTEMPORARY STOCKYARDS