I am inspired by Impressionist painters especially Van Gogh, Monet and contemporary abstract expressionists and color field painters Gerhard Richter, Mark Rothko and Mark Tobey, Joseph Marioni and Natvar Bhavsar. I feel that these artists, even when painting "realistically" break up their image into abstract elements - particles of light, shapes, patterns, color and movement. In Rothko, Marioni and Bhavsar's work these particles are so fine they create atmospheric and spiritual glow.
For me, art is about energy - hopefully positive, healing energy. As my work reflects my own emotional state, positive is not always achievable. I've experienced that a painting's color, light, quality, marks and patterns vibrate together and resonate with my heart and mind. I feel a flow of subtle sensations. The longer I gaze the more I notice a change inside - the image is influencing my mind - calming me down or soothing pain.
My goal is to create paintings that resonate with my mind and promote feelings of harmony and peace. Of all the paintings I look at, I enjoy "overall" paintings the most. They seem to best express the oneness of the universe, the unified yet spinning energy holding everything together. I guess one of my influences regarding the overall image has been Jackson Pollock.
That said, somehow the more sensitive, meditative overall compositions of Mark Tobey resonate more strongly. Tobey wrote about his spiritual beliefs and quest to use art to express oneness and infinity. His path and exploration is inspiring. The older I get, the stronger is my belief that my life purpose is to experience and then express and share my peace. I have come a long way since my youth when I believed that my goal was to express pain and the tumultuous world around me. Today, nothing is more meaningful than to achieve a peaceful state of mind. When my mind is peaceful and I am connected and conscious of all my body sensations, I know that what I am experiencing is reality. My reality. This is the Truth I now attempt to express in my paintings.
Maybe the experience of subtle peaceful sensations is the "spiritual feeling" Kandinsky often wrote about. Meditation was important to his life and led to him studying the physiological and spiritual attributes of colour. He described these sensations as innere Klang or inner resonance in his book The Spiritual in Abstract Art. Paintings have the amazing power to resonate with your mind and soul.
One of my greatest rewards as a painter happens when a viewer of my work becomes conscious of this flow of subtle sensations and energy. After one of my exhibitions a person commented, "I don't know what I'm looking at, but the painting makes me feel peaceful." This was the most rewarding comment I ever received; gave painting a purpose.
I believe that my minimal energy field paintings evolved alongside forty years of Vipassana meditation practice. Vipassana is a specific form of introspective "seeing" that focuses on reality felt via physical sensations. During the 10 day silent courses, one becomes aware that sensations underlie all experience – even our experience of art. Knowing this now, while painting, I strive to express my inner sensation reality. I have little desire to paint the "reality" I see outside or imagine in my head.
My aim as an artist (not always achievable) is to create paintings that trigger positive sensations in the viewer. Sensations that energize and uplift the viewer and instill or at least help him or her feel more peaceful. Henri Matisse described this so beautifully. He said that his aim was “.. .to create paintings that have a calming and soothing effect on the mind.”