I paint for the thrill of it. The thrill that comes when I spot some beauty of color, form, or design in a model, a landscape, or a still life arrangement that I’m painting. The thrill of finding a fresh way to represent some seen beauty in paint. The thrill of seeing smears of color become a believable image.
These thrills come most often from intense, concentrated painting sessions. Most of the time I start and finish a painting in one day, taking from one to five hours; occasionally I’ll work on it for a second session while it’s still wet. The more finished, polished result I could get from spending days or weeks on a painting doesn’t interest me as much as the feeling of freshness, spontaneity and intimacy that comes from painting in one go. This kind of painting is, as Oscar Peterson said about jazz, a “daredevil experience … [that] requires you to collect all your senses, emotions, physical strength and mental power, and focus them totally on the performance… every time you play.”
The paintings I see in museums and galleries that I love most make me feel something that I can’t express in words. They show me gorgeous paint strokes as well as a lovely image and both are fitted perfectly to the subject and the feelings. My deepest and most satisfying thrill comes when one of my own paintings moves me like this.
Painting by Deborah Matlack 2007