Wilderness, also meaning self-willed land, is an exploration of the idea of wildness using the natural prairie environment as subject matter. The diverse plant and animal life that constitutes these “wild” areas with their endless combinations of form, line and colour reveal a variety of possibilities in art making. The energy of earth, water, air and fire are released visually in the tangled wind-bent grass, the lush-green out of control growth, and the sun-drenched baked colours.
Webster’s dictionary describes the word “wild” not only as a “state of nature” but also as a human condition; i.e “unruly” and “indicative of strong passion, desire, or emotion.” My intention is to reveal through my paintings the wildness of the prairie, its power and beauty and metaphorically as a conveyer of emotions.
I begin this process by drawing my impressions of the chosen “wild” areas on canvas, using drawing as a way of contacting the energy of the subject. Quick, direct and gestural marks are employed as well as marks that reflect a more intimate observation of the subject. I introduce colour to add emotional energy, colours that evoke the mood of the place. As the painting develops I retain some of the original shapes and gestures, while abstracting others to allow new images to emerge, images from my core identity that resonate with the natural world and constitute the wilderness self.