Abstract and Semi Abstract Painting

The taste of colour & a touch of place: I love them both, sometimes each by itself, sometimes together. And, as a “cock-eyed optimist”, I want you to feel, when you look, a sense of pleasure, fun, mellowness, excitement (something!). So, I paint, first, by choosing my canvas shape & size. This becomes my boundary, my outer limit. It keeps me from getting carried away & is like a fence around my play-yard. Big canvas = big playground!

Then, colours! When I was a kid growing up in the U.S., each school year began (as is everywhere the case) with getting new pencils & paper & CRAYONS, my tools. I would always beg for the biggest box with the biggest selection. I wanted to assure that I had the fullest set of options in case I needed some obscure colour (although, I never much got into using “flesh pink”). Even now my paint box is always full. Colours are the spices of my visual life! So, step 2 is selecting the colours.

Step 3 can be a bit random as I make my first marks or describe a shape and I will admit here that I am fully capable of false starts. But, what I’ve learnt is that those false starts, once made, can almost always be unmade with a generous covering of gesso or another layer of colour. Each successive colour addition is an adventure to develop & build an experience. I don’t much think or plan when I do this. If I do, my “maths” brain takes over & the intuitive, creative voices in my head get hopelessly drowned out.

The finish sometimes takes days to achieve. I often hang the painting in my breakfast room where I can live with it for a few days. Eventually, I figure out my final gesture (or not). These final bits are sort of like the full stop at the end of a sentence.

By the way, I sure don’t want you to think I’m somehow special. Lots of artists probably follow this same recipe. But, those voices in my head – they are uniquely mine, born in the course of my life, my loves, my laughters, my sadnesses and fears, my adventures and boredoms. Those are mine and I’m pleased to share them with you. Enjoy! Please

Click on the images below to see enlargements of Joan's work and scroll through the slideshow.