The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
My latest painting is a new, smaller version of a scene that I have painted once before. I find the image and the idea equally appealing ~ a monarch butterfly resting on Queen Anne’s Lace, as if by royal appointment.
“God bless our contradictions, those parts of us which seem out of character. Let us be boldly and gladly out of character. Let us be creatures of paradox and variety: creatures of contrast; of light and shade: creatures of faith. God be our constant. Let us step out of character into the unknown, to struggle and love and do what we will. Amen.”
‘A Note on God’ by Michael Leunig
“Whenever I try to finish a painting by carefully cleaning up all the parts—removing smudges, perfecting the drawing, spiffing and polishing—as I work, the spirit slowly drains out of it. This approach to finishing leaves me unsatisfied and leads to my either abandoning the painting before it is complete or just stopping and calling it “finished” in spite of my dissatisfaction. I know that Nature is not polished and uniform, all clear, clean and tidy, but raw and variable, messy, ambiguous, and indefinite. And above all, nature is dynamic. It stands to reason that a painting of Nature must somehow include these qualities. What if focusing on details and formal accuracy won’t ever get me there?”
“What if I just focus on representing the underlying essence of my subject and my relationship to, and feeling about, that essence?….Perhaps the best way to finish a painting is to try to move the subject ever more towards that state. I know when that character is developing in my painting because the image inspires that particular feeling I have when I stand before it in Nature. I know to keep working as long as I can make something more like its essential self. I know I need to stop as the image begins to move away from itself and become something else. Mysteriously, sometimes this process goes on for many days and even weeks as I devote hour after hour to the piece, other times I breathe a painting into being in a few hours, almost effortlessly, and only need the good sense to leave it alone (which is surprisingly difficult sometimes). So perhaps, in this way, my practice of finishing can be guided by Nature herself.”