A Practice in Mindfulness
My first drawing teacher in art school gave me a small packet of postcards with images of Rembrandt etchings on them. Inside the packaging, he inscribed, "To Liane, To draw is to see". "To draw is to see" became a motto that eventually opened up a much deeper connection in my practice. It unveiled a way of creating in the moment and being mindful in the process. It's about looking at an object as if you've never seen it before. If you are to draw a tree, you must forget what you know, and really see the tree. Connect to it. Creating abstract paintings required an even larger leap toward mindfulness. No longer was I painting trees, but turning off literal language altogether and discovering shapes from within that were evocative, modern, and sometimes quite strange. I pushed the scale of my work, requiring me to reach with all of my body in all directions; a connection of body and mind inspired by instinct.
As paint is applied in the initial stage, elements of the painting start to become highlighted. Whether it's a shape, or a color, or a line, I start to see them as having little personalities. From there, I want these elements to talk to each other, and the notion of a conversation adds life to the work. If I have a kidney-shaped blue character in one section of the painting, I want it to have a friend someplace else on the canvas; a reflection of the color, or shape, or line. Now, those two elements have a relationship. Through the evolution of the painting, an abstract environment emerges that feels a bit like an ocean, or outer space.
Large-scale murals allow the viewer to step into that dynamic, and become one of those characters. They now have their own relationship with the kidney shape, and the line, and the color. Those values connect with something inside the viewer that exists on that abstract level. Murals present an immersive art experience that transports you from a preconceived way of thinking, and ignites a level of consciousness that is rooted in the senses.