I apply what I have learned from working with shapes, forms and lines in my abstract paintings to finding the simplicity that is needed for abstracting a figure. Similarly, my abstract work profits from my figurative experience.
My figures arrive in various ways. It can start with a clear vision, where I know the figure’s shape, color and motion. At other times I start with an emotion, a feeling, and a vague sense of a figure. Then I begin abstractly, holding back, not letting the figure take shape for as long as I can. When it finally happens, and I allow the figure to appear, there is a strong sense of release, a feeling of satisfaction.
I love it when my figures become so very abstracted that they are hardly recognizable as figures. They become so connected to their surroundings that there is a blending, a shape shifting.
Often my figures don’t have a very clear outline. I think if I could paint our energetic bodies, they would not end where our physical bodies end.
The vocabulary in my figurative work goes from a clear depiction of a body to a very abstracted, even dissolving figure. I see this as my range, my scale. Like a piano player I am able to go up and down a tone ladder.
I think the reason why I go back to the figure again and again is because I live in a body. So the figures I paint are “felt” figures. I paint a figure as the body feels to me, living in one. I combine the physical look of a body with the emotions this body feels and let that be expressed with color and texture.