My love for painting stems from the process of looking — observing the world, witnessing it.
Similar to the act of listening, witnessing is clean and unchanging. It doesn’t have its own form. Nevertheless, the life experiences I am dancing through will express themselves in my paintings, simply because that is what is being witnessed when I enter conversation.
I begin the process by choosing a subject. I search for a sensation of resonance with whatever it is I’m looking at; be it a self-portrait, a still-life, or a landscape. I wait to hear an internal ‘yes’, a testament to my curiosity, an understanding that there is a conversation to be had. Once I can honestly ask: ‘Who are you? What is to be explored here?’ I have gained permission to venture into the process.
I enter the conversation by entering the unknown. I have to strip away layers of what I think I know about what I’m painting, about what I think I know about myself. I have to let go of expectations for results, of any notion of whether or not this piece is going to work. I have to let my fears dissolve if I’m going to let go of what I want and don’t want to see. I must lean in to that which has been hiding: both in myself, and in the subject.
When I do that, when I can free that which has been hiding, I am giving witness to its existence. And only when these constraints are overcome do unexpected colors and lines emerge. There, I find something that’s expressing itself, something that has been waiting for me to witness it.
That expression is always beautiful. Because it is life, exactly as it is happening in that moment.
My witnessing is thus an experience of trusting the unknown, of stepping out of fear. It’s an expression of beauty and freedom. It’s the place of meeting, of engaging, of relationship.
That is why I paint. That is why I need to paint.