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For me, the hours in the studio, the discipline of showing up again and again, and the frustrations of not quite getting it are all worth it when in the midst of moving the paint around, something appears and I say “yes! This is where I want to be.”
Then I explore with paint and brushes, palette knife, pencils, scrapers and scratching tools. If I am lucky and can hold my intentions loosely enough, the painting itself takes over. This is the process that works best for me whether I am investigating the figure, landscape, abstract shapes and forms or internal states and memories.