The paintings in Invisible Presence (Elizabeth Leach Gallery, April 2016) are both a continuation of investigations that have been part of my work for a long time and a new direction that has evolved from the maturing use of my handheld oil paint. These paintings realize an interdependence of mind, medium and process, which become balanced in the present moment, without interruption. The imagery does not come from external observation of form, but rather from an internal exploration that suggests the intangible. Thus, my paintings become their own content while revealing an invisible presence.

The qualities of oil paint in a tube made it my medium of choice for over thirty years. No other medium aligned my work’s aesthetics, process, and content as oil paint did. However, the conventional tools of oil painting presented an obstacle that kept me from reaching my full potential as a painter. That obstacle was the necessary interruption that occurred each time I had to stop to reload my brush with more paint. Inevitably those interruptions broke the moment, the continuity of what was transpiring on the canvas. Something was needed that could sustain my creative flow without interruption, something that could “hold” more paint, and that something, surprisingly, turned out to be the creation of my hand held oil paint.  

In this regard, necessity drove me to alchemy and chemistry, which eventually led me to create hand held paint. In my studio I now methodically blend dry pigments, oil and wax to form a unique color object that I hold in my hand and apply directly to the canvas. The hand held oil paint allows me to stay at the canvas for long periods of time without interruption. Color becomes object. Thereby, the immediacy and tangibility of my hand held paint facilitate what is at the core of my process: bringing together mind, matter and process on the canvas. 

Alone with a quiet mind, no distractions, forgetting ego, engaging the intuitive mind, inviting an invisible presence, looking inward, I begin to paint. Color becomes object, there is no coloring of objects or forms of the external world because: color is it’s own entity. This reversal of color sequence brings me closer to the realization of an inner realm, an inner reality where truth resides.

Spaciousness is created through breath: breathe in breathe out, breathe in breathe out; apply paint, scrape off, apply paint, scrape off. Holding the paint in my hand, breathing in breathing out, applying paint, removing paint. These paintings are a becoming, a recognition, a formation and an experience of truth revealed.

Further practice and exploration with the hand held paint led to more abstract and more minimal paintings. Over the last two years, I’ve become very interested in ancient Chinese philosophy toward painting and more specifically Ch’an Buddhism and its relationship to painting.

Asserting, 2015 oil on Arches oil paper, 20 x20”