“It’s all about problem solving”, one of the students in the mentored class said to me and another student standing nearby. How often I have had this thought as I started a new painting. There are the basic problems to solve: Can I paint the picture with just these colours? Should this be a big or a small painting? What is the focal point and is the composition interesting? Can I use this particular technique to get the effect that I want?
Then there are the more complex questions that arise from what the painting is all about. Is the painting a metaphor for something, and if so how do I make that a visual image? Or is the very premise of the painting a question to be answered? I find that this is very often the case when I want to abstract the subject matter that I begin with. For example, in “Poise” I asked the question: “If I only paint the negative spaces will viewers still be able to tell what the subject matter is? In “Fuchsia” I asked: “What will happen if I put the canvas under the fuchsia and just paint the shadows as the sun moves across the sky?” What kind of questions or problems do you pose and try to answer in your paintings?