"When my hand is paraphrasing my feelings, I am very aware if there is any disagreement between the two of us: between my hand and that indefinable part of me that seems subjugated to it. The hand is but an extension of sensitivity and intelligence. The more it is supple, the more it is obedient." — Henri Matisse, Jazz (1947)
I grew up as a dancer and visual artist. I have always been interested in dancing lines in space--graceful lines, emotional lines, poignant lines. Add to that my love for the written word, nurtured through years of formal study. My text paintings begin with a seed of awareness or understanding found in words and phrases that trigger memories and feelings, and that contain an aspect of the eternal, or pure consciousness. The verses that draw me have a musicality, lyricism, fluidity, luminosity, pertinence; they are from various sources, anywhere from the Tao Te Ching to ancient Sufi poetry, from a lovers' discourse to hauntingly beautiful engraved epitaphs. (Much of my family lived in New Orleans, and my grandparents' backyard was the Metairie Cemetery, where we spent many magical hours playing in and amongst the mausoleums.)
Once the instrument in my hand touches the paper, it is not lifted until the next line. Over and over, in layer upon layer, the words are repeated, so that the act of making the painting becomes a meditation, a chance for my hand to be out of the way when "paraphrasing my feelings" about whatever is being written. In terms of color, the words just tell me what they want.
All the phrases are taken from "real" sources, but it is not important that they are legible.The viewers can deduce and discover what they will, they can imbibe and imbue what they will. The idea is to get lost in the lines.
In the making of the paintings, words and awareness become a dance through the instrument of line. My hand becomes "an extension of sensitivity".