Bob Dawson

This painting pictures is a haunting occupation.  I often ask myself why I am doing this?  And the correlative question: how will people relate to it?  As has been stated many times in this forum, I exercise my muse in attempt to communicate.  I paint because I have to.

“the purpose of man’s first speech was an address

to the un-knowable……his hand traced the stick

through the mud to make a line before he learned

how to throw the stick as a javelin.”

                                                Barnett Newman

   Why I paint what I paint is a different question, one related closely to the process of how I go about creating artwork.  Content is everything.  I don’t do this to create decorations.

“On life’s vast ocean

            Diversely we sail

Reason’s the boat

            But passion’s the gale”

                   ~Alexander Pope

                        circa 1720

The process for objective work is somewhat different than that for abstracts.  Most often when discovering something in nature, I’ll make a mental image of it.  This vision along with digital photographs are what i work with in the studio.  From this I start with thumbnail drawings until I have a satisfactory composition with the values established.   Then I do a study in various media, most often in watercolor.  Each step along the way is combined with lots of looking and meditation.  For important works this can take weeks.  If I’m still inspired, I move on to the final version.  More changes take place.  Things often go wrong, leading to radical changes.  During this process of creatrion and destruction my intuition must be closely monitored.  It doesn’t always pay to cling to the original mental image or you’ll never see what’s worth saving.  I learned this lesson long ago.

For abstract paintings the process is different.. The end result that they have content is still the goal.  The chaos of intuitive searching comes 1st.  Knowing when to stop, to look, to study and to meditate is very essential.  Sometime during these splashy beginnings, the paintings might start to tell me what to do next.  To be able to communicate with it, you’ve got to be able to really see it!

    “……….it’s because people have no idea how to look

                that they hardly  ever understand”           – Pierre Bonnard

   Eventually I’ll intervene to give it stronger graphic impact, composition, color and unity.  parts of the painting that don’t seem to work are often eliminated.  Experiments/studies are done to try out color or texture.  The process of painting, looking and meditation continues while searching for the intangible.

     “Behold!  I do not give lectures on a little charity.

     When I give, I give myself”    – Walt Whitman

   Every day is a new beginning.  Hiking further and further afield for images which stir my inner-most being and cause me to want to bring them into the light.

                                                          bob