Generally speaking, when I create I am working with a theme. Often that theme has been generated by my contemplative practice. I ponder an idea, or sometimes just a notion and for that idea or notion to find expression, I spend an inordinate amount of time imagining it into a series of images. These images are usually quite defined before I begin to sketch them. That is not to say I always, or ever accomplish the task of exactly recreating what is in my minds eye. But suffice it to say I am not making work by randomly putting paint to canvas and just seeing what unfolds. Although I love the idea of working that way, the truth is I never do.
I have been painting since I was a child and I can now look back and see that being in a constant state of flux, however subtle, means that my work is always changing and how I work is part of that evolution. Perhaps what doesn't change is the intention to work authentically, from the heart. For me, this requires regular unstructured time, a meditation practice, self care and balance in my every day life. This is all part of my ongoing practice as an artist because I only enjoy the process and the outcome when I maintain a mindful, healthy lifestyle. Currently this includes proper rest, nourishing meals, running in the woods, cold dips in the lake, being connected to community and maintaining functional, loving relationships with family and friends -- an ongoing endeavour complete with continual lessons in humility. It is admittedly staid and somewhat pedestrian, but creatively speaking I do not thrive on discord. The art of the Middle Way, a balanced approach to life, is my overarching practice and ultimately what guides my work as a painter.