There was a time, a number of years ago, that the thought of getting up on a stage or, in any case, standing at an easel and painting while any number of people watched was a positively frightening and somewhat bizarre idea for me. Painting, for me, can be an intimate and very personal process; I couldn’t imagine having any number of eyes in me while in the midst of that creative flow.
Then of course there are a few other considerations as well. Much of my work is extremely detailed and I couldn’t imagine that it’d be much fun to watch me paint with my insanely tiny brushes. And then what if I messed up? Then what? And, of course, there’s the fact that I really enjoy parties and dancing and such and, after all, I spend a lot of my time at home listening to music and painting – why would I want to go somewhere that I could hang out with friends and dance and have a good time but instead turn my back on everything and do what I’m doing for hours on end at home and by myself anyways?
Thankfully, I’ve been able to answer these questions. For one, in regards to the careful and rather slow detail orientation of much of my wok, I’ve concentrated on spontaneity and movement while live painting – broad movements and brushstrokes, seeking an efficient immediacy instead of concentrating on refined details. In this way, the live pieces I’ve created have an entirely different sort of life and movement that my other work doesn’t have at all. As for the concern of “messing up”… well, so what. No one knows what “messing up” is and, in the end, it’s all just part of the process. If I go into it with a focused mind and heart then there is no “messing up”. And, finally, my desire to hang out and enjoy myself vs. painting at an event: I pick and choose my live painting experiences wisely, I hope. I don’t paint at very many events even now because quite often I really would rather be enjoying the company of friends, dancing, having a drink, enjoying wherever I am. However, there are times when I am really excited to paint – the crowd, the music, the entire thing is a great joyous occasion and I get to ride that flow.
Then of course one one of my most favorite things of all is the personal interactions with people who get to see a piece take shape, fill out, and hit it’s mark all within the span of a few hours, or a day, or two. It’s a fun process, this live painting dance, and I’ve really enjoyed meeting a lot of inspiring people through these occasions. It’s given me a chance to understand what I do through the eyes of others or be inspired by random exchanges that certainly don’t happen at home in my own studio.
Please enjoy this gallery of a selection of live paintings done over the past year or two: