Painting Stones

whaleRocklores.jpg

I've been painting stones and rocks almost exclusively for about four years.  My painting process begins with vague watery shapes that float on the surface of the wax.  As I work, I focus in on the important pieces, then add more detail. There is always at least one moment when the image feels like it will never become something. That it will never move from an ugly mass of paint into a scene that can transport the viewer to that place for a moment. I have come to trust that if I continue working and paying attention to what I see, the reality of the stone will emerge. Since I work from black and white laser prints of photos, the images are often not that clear. But there always seems to be just enough information to reveal their bulk and depth.

whaleRocklores.jpg

Most of the stones I paint are not smooth. They are covered with pits, marks, cracks, and lichen growing in splotches. It helps to think of them as fellow beings covered with skin that shows where they have been and what has happened to them.

During the painting process I ask myself over and over, is this enough? Does that mark add to the understanding of this image or detract? Will the shape have more depth or less? Is this stone truly individual or another cliche of a stone? How can I reveal something new about stones and how they are sitting in the landscape, perhaps placed there thousands of years ago by humans?