My art represents a personal transformation and a lifelong process of accepting myself. It exists as storytelling. I feel it gets richer as my artistic journey unfolds. I have been asked, “Why do you paint what you do?” At one time, the answer revolved around being intrigued by obscure objects in nature and wanting to pull out the colors and the form into a composition. It was true at the time. But I was also drawn to paint landscapes and driftwood because I knew I could do it. I can recreate the form and the colors and, voilà! What emerged was a painting that I felt good about because it looked like the subject matter. It was somewhat safe from criticism, like the branches extending a certain way, and shadows falling a specific way. My inner critic was in charge of my creativity, but it also helped me develop my skill as an artist. It grounded me and satisfied my ego.
As years pass, and as I complete a painting, a layer of myself is revealed. A re-birthing occurs every time. When I start a new piece, I go through a process. I’m attracted to a vision or an object. My creativity comes through the composition and color. And then I get lost trying to perfect it. I fall into self-doubt about the piece itself, and I sometimes begin to doubt my journey to sustain my life as an artist. But my drive to reveal the final work is strong! I push through, completing the painting, and I love it. I exhale with a fresh appreciation for self-acceptance, and I am nourished to begin the next piece. And the next.
I am exploring new ideas in my work right now, dealing with the human figure and obscure life events that transform us forever. These ideas want to manifest, as if entities themselves. I am bringing them my skill as a painter and giving them an outlet to exist and be seen. They are vulnerable and naked stories of the human condition. Telling them continues to fulfill my journey and purpose as an artist.
Portrait of the artist; photo by Richard Casteel