My process is a metaphor

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For some artists, their process is a means to an end. For me, it is the beginning, the end, and everything in between. 

My process begins with loud music and movement. Lots of colour, experimental mark making using ALL the tools, and general chaos. 

Beginning paintings are akin to birth. A baby comes into this world in a cacophony of emotion, and communicates pure emotion without hesitation: anger, bliss, hunger, pain, laughter. The child experiments with its world over and over again until it gets feedback. At first, that feedback is immediate; something meets the need, or it doesn’t. Then, perhaps the baby notices when something feels good, or tastes bad.

Soon enough, the outer world of the family, school, and society, begin to influence the child using their conceptions and view of the world and the child adjusts and refines its behaviour in order to fit in with the environment around it. 

Likewise, my painting goes through these stages, from exuberant first stages to deciding which parts to keep, and which parts to paint over in order to give the paintings balance and refine the composition. From there, the story develops. 

The painting and the person both go on a journey to ‘become’. Some parts are dark, some light, some fun, and others serious. Mistakes are made, and learnt from, layers upon layers serve to make the painting more beautiful in its depth. You see, it is our layers, our mistakes, our choices that make us who we are. 

Sometimes, the refinement goes too far, and I feel the need to scratch back into the colourful beginning layers to get some of that sparkle of vibrancy back into the composition. 

This is what we often feel the need to do in midlife. Some of us have gone too far in our refinement and homogenisation that we have lost our sparkle, the joy of youth, our essence – and we search in a million different ways to remember and regain those things that bring our heart alive. 

That is why I paint in the first place, because no matter what I’m painting, the very act of painting brings me alive. Each painting is a life, a creation, a story. With all its trials and tribulations, it exists, and is made more beautiful for its journey. 

So, no matter what any individual abstract painting of mine is about on the surface, this is the meaning that underpins them all. ART IS LIFE. 

Recent musings

Close up image of abstract painting 'Gone Surfin' by Kathryn Gruber


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'Poolside' is an original abstract painting by Kathryn Gruber