A few months back I excitedly announced on social media that I had stumbled onto a new technique for painting. It was new to me but at the time I was unsure if it had been used before by any known painter. After some initial inquiries to a few respected critics and academics I confirmed that, if it had been used as a technique, it was never made public.
The discovery of any new approach to painting is, at least to me personally, grounds for excitement. It has long been said that nothing new can be done with paint, that all the ideas have been exhausted. Having found what I believed to be something new was a continental shift in my way of thinking about paint. It forced me to re-examine my previous techniques in light of this discovery, to reconcile my practice into a cohesive whole. Giving me new insight into things I have been doing for ages but never really stopped to considered.
In short this new technique involves using various handmade whips to apply paint to a surface with a great deal of force. An intense release of energy upon impact that creates various textural forms and requires a great deal of subtle control as it is very easy to damage the surface in unintended ways. Even the process of damaging the surface intentionally is one that has taken me time to consider.
After months of exploration I have finally found things to say with this technique. I have a long road ahead of me over the coming years exploring the vast terrain that the whip technique opens up but I wanted to share a basic premise that has come to me through this process.
Painting, in any form, is fundamentally about the controlled release of energy. This energy originates within the body, and its expression though paint occurs via any applicator. From the traditional brush through Pollocks sticks to my current whips the use of energy and its release is the fundamental that centers painting. Much like a martial art painting involves the entire body, a dance that frees ideas in the form of energy to make marks on a surface.
When we chose to paint, as opposed to other forms of artistic creation, we tap into the extended expression of the body in nature. As a painter we learn to speak in a language that is made of colour and form, but whose vehicle is the energy being transferred from our actions into the paint and onto the surface. It is this relationship between our bodies and the surface that defines painting, but it is the energy itself that gives painting its soul.
I look forward to a summer of further exploration with my new found discovery.