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J Steven Patton

I believe I have always been a figurative painter by nature. In my new series I am exploring the figure in more abstracted measures. The process entails covering my canvases with very dilute oil pigments as I continuously turn the substrate thereby creating patterns, lines and value differentiations. I find it fascinating to discover various shapes within the under painting that form figures, similarly to seeing forms in clouds. To me, it’s like what Michelangelo said about his figure being already present within the marble that he is merely chipping away to release. I believe what I have created in this first layer is not simply an accident but is somehow drawn from or interacting with my subconscious.

I start to delineate the newly discovered figures with heavy charcoal lines and begin to fill these shapes with color. I have abandoned my brushes in this series and apply the paint with shop towels. There is something very intimate about rubbing the paint into the canvas as it blends with the charcoal lines and start to glow as more pigment is added.

Now a story begins to take shape. I don’t know the story. It evolves as I paint. The canvas is providing the narrative and I am the instrument. This series feels very exciting and authentic to me. I can’t wait to start uncovering the next story as soon as I finish the one I’m working on. Maybe someday the series will make sense and I will find interconnections. For now, I just love the process.

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