avis lane willan
Avis' painting process
The process of painting totally fascinates me; it's an investigation. As I work intuitively and mostly from imagination, I begin every painting not knowing what the end point will look like. I may have a plan (such a comfort!), but generally it shifts into the unknown; and often within lurk painterly riches. Accidents waiting to happen give the artist a painty gift. Which is all a bit special.
For many of my paintings it begins with a feeling and a shape or colour; and the only way to find the image is to put some paint down and stick my hands in it, sometimes moving onto using a brush. Then perhaps mediums, pencils, highlighter pen, inks, oil bar and sandpaper and old cloths to remove the paint I've just put on. What to take off is just as big a part of the layering process as what to put on. Such is the process of layering, discovering, revealing, editing, building, knocking back. This attention gives the work depth and a history. And at some point the image reveals itself. Sometimes it's there, waiting; other times it needs to be mined out.
Other images are shaped in my mind unbidden or begin with a sentence to interpret. I make a sketch, which means they still themselves until I begin to work on them directly. Then the same process of layering, looking and listening begins.
Sometimes in order to push an image to its best I lose it, but the alternative is being too afraid to change something and the painting is never fully realised. As I enjoy experimentation and expressive painting, some work just runs its course and won't go further - even though I'm defibrillating it like crazy with more paint/less paint to get my invested time back. Sometimes you just have to stand clear and let it go! So in painting, as in life. Effort, skill and good heart doesn't always play fair- but it does improve the odds. And it's another thing learned for another painting.
I find watching an image appear, change and grow really interesting; hence my inclusion of a few of the my paintings in some of the stages below. I take photographs as I go along to see what is going on with the painting. The camera doesn't lie! Hopefully you'll also find the process interesting, I've kept it brief...
Evolving and changing is sometimes about experience and learning another technical skill; sometimes about the direction the painting wants to go in. Mostly it's about getting out of the way and listening to the paint. What the paint wants. Ultimately, it's all about the paint.