I decided to post the questions and my answers here.
1. How do you “paint what is not there” or “Not paint what is there”? What I see in your paintings is “what is not there”. That is the appeal to me, as a painter.
Painting what is not there has to do with inventing. I’ve done that more so in some of my abstracted figure paintings (see below). Most all of my painting at this stage of my career comes from a place where I’m relying on what I know about painting, as opposed to relying on a model or photo in front of me. The actual subject or photo is merely reference and is secondary. Inventing and making stuff up didn’t come easily for me since I had a very traditional and classical training. I had to learn how to think about painting differently and to experiment. After many years of trial and error and trashing a lot of canvases, I began to see different things happening on the paint surface that I didn’t know could happen heretofore. From there I could see the beginnings of other ideas and new ways of creating.
Not painting what is there is a good example of simplifying and using economy. It too is another form of inventing because it involves a lot of decision making. It requires having to look carefully at a subject and understanding how it is constructed, then deconstructing, or distilling it down to its essence. It too takes lots of practice because you have to find a way to suggest or imply all the necessary visual components of a form which are there so that it reads as being that form. This is where the concept of abstraction comes from. You take something apart and put it back together in your own unique way. To me, this is what being a creative artist is all about.
Yes, now it does. However, it wasn’t always that way. I had to get away from traditional and classical thinking in order to become more open to playing with edges. I’ve adjusted my attitude and expectations as to what my paintings will look like. Making significant changes in your painting style requires a shift in thinking and one’s sense of what is acceptable or unacceptable aesthetically.
3. What was your earlier work like?
My early work was heavily grounded in drawing. My paintings were much tighter, not only in execution, but in their aesthetic scope.