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Heidi Thompson

I was born in Canada surrounded by mountains, lakes, sky and forest. I am inspired by natural beauty. My aim as a painter is to capture beauty – not by painting a landscape as I know it – with trees, mountains, clouds and sunsets. Rather, by painting the essence of nature using her elements - color, light, patterns, movement and space. My goal is to create compositions that feel natural - feel like a dramatic sunset, a sparkling brook, a deep wood or expanding sky. I hope that my abstract “landscapes” will ignite joy or a profound feeling of harmony and peace - emotions you experience while walking through a rain forest or gazing at a spectacular sky. If my paintings succeed in resonating with that deeper part of myself, the part that is connected with nature, I believe what I am painting may mirror who I am. For me, painting is a journey of self discovery. It’s not always easy or rewarding and is quite frustrating at times. Like in nature, moments of beauty are fleeting and impermanent. I cannot predict when they will happen. Nevertheless, what keeps me returning to the studio is optimistic anticipation. There’s always a chance that something glorious will appear while painting. If I keep my eyes open and am ready, I might be lucky and capture that beautiful moment on canvas.

For me painting is an energizing and at times an enlightening experience. Inspired by Kandinsky's effort to experience the spiritual resonance of colour and form (innere Klang), I also believe that our minds, when sharpened, can be sensitive to the finest vibrations. When one's sharpened attention is directed inwardly, not to the imagination but to the physical sensations, another dimension of reality takes place.

Experiencing this subtle, vibratory feeling within my body has influenced my painting style, technique and image. My painted surfaces resemble delicate particles and waves of colour unified in a monochromatic field. Other times, my compositions comprise separate shapes and forms suspended in light and dark. These pieces seem to express my emotional experience, rather than unified sensory wavelets of pure sensation.

I am inspired by the quiet compositions of Rothko, the chaotic layered lines of Pollock, and the luminous atmospheres of Turner. More recently, I have felt an affinity to Joseph Marioni's monochromatics, Joe Barnes' sensitive colour fields and Natvar Bhavsar's pure pigment paintings. Although my images appears abstract and non-objective, I can't help but see the natural world in an "abstract" sort of way. When I look outside "abstract" compositions are everywhere - texture of bare branches, light falling on snow, movement of cerulean to cobalt across the sky, particles of sand glowing on a beach.

When I feel inside, there is nothing but movement, vibration, pulsing, pressure, heat and tingling. When I paint, I use every visual means available, whether it's colour, paint, lines, shapes, texture or illusions of nature to invoke an inner sensation. For me, evoking sensations is the ultimate aim of painting. It is through our equanimous awareness of these sensations, that leads us to understanding our deepest reality. The act of painting helps me understand the mysterious natural laws which govern nature and myself.

Painting is an exploration of matter, energy, and mind and their interplay and connectedness. I begin painting with solid materials such as sand, gesso, paint and paper. Then I generate energy or force from within, and apply paint to the paper's empty surface using brush, rag or hand. My choice of colour and application are governed by my instinctive, "feeling" mind. While painting, I become immersed in the visual reaction to the colours changing, dissolving, and reappearing.

I sometimes apply transparent layers of colour which create illusions of atmosphere - gas, liquid, smoke, dust, steam or changing surfaces of water, corrosion, ice and chemicals. But they are not really illusions; they are simply what they are - a painted surface. Eventually, the heavy paint, sand, texture and paper seem to evaporate into lighter substances. These finer substances not only stimulate my delicate sense, but provoke my imagination, thoughts, and memories - dimensions of the intellect. What was once solid paint and matter has now transformed into something stimulating mind-energy. I also notice, that during the painting event, my mind has become sensitive, sharp, and aware.

If painting were indeed such a vehicle, which can transform gross matter into finer substance and then, into a subtle substance which resonates with the mind, then it may be that painting could ultimately evoke those elusive spiritual sensations, which seem the finest of all. This would be an achievement. For if we transcend the solidity and diversity of our existences, we would merge into a unified field - experienced as love. And in this love, we would feel something of our spirit-soul, God or the Absolute. And the mystery of who we are, as individuals and as an undivided unity, would unveil.

Photo Copyright Guillianne Richards

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