Tuesday, August 5, 2008


My search for the Absolute has come through a process-oriented approach. After many years of experimenting and trying different ways to make an abstract painting, I've discovered that when one tries to remove the ego from the process, a pure art can be liberated from the psyche. Methodically applying paint with little or no thought involved is a powerful way to circumvent the ego and create something more archetypal and universal.

Rules of Travel, 2008, oil on canvas, 36x36 inches
© 2008 Diane McGregor

The grid is the underlying structure for all of my work. It weaves under the paint, like a thread, coming back up to the surface to reinstate itself, to lay claim to an area of the composition, then gently guides itself back down under the surface of the painting to emerge again in a later passage. It orders and regulates the pattern of the image.

I begin the painting process by methodically weaving together horizontal and vertical brushstrokes. This technique generates a grid substructure from the very earliest stages of the painting. The grid is then deconstructed, with an eye on the subtle balance of the composition. Eventually light and dark areas emerge, and I follow my intuition to guide the placement, color, and weight of the forms. Fragments of texture and highly saturated hues are left exposed, yielding an emotive quality to the content of the piece. Luminous, softly shifting color fields drift through the image, creating an ambiguous figure-ground relationship that pushes and pulls. I love that tension, movement, and mystery.

I use fan brushes which give a delicate, complex weave to the grid. Sometimes I drag the paint with a loaded brush, sometimes the stroke is smoothed out with medium. The carefully blended color fields are built up from hundreds of strokes, quietly polished into air, light, mist. Painting is my way of meditating, of going beyond the traps of the mind and allowing the moment to just be the action of each brushstroke. Moment upon moment, brushstroke upon brushstroke. The painting, then, becomes a record of a solitary, contemplative practice that is both private and shared.

1 comment:

Rebecca Crowell said...

Thanks for this explanation of your process. The paintings I saw in your studio had such a presence to them...in reading this it becomes more clear how the movement from the grid--the geometric underlying structure--to the soft, sensuous upper layers of the work results in paintings that are both aesthetically beautiful and conceptually (and spiritually) deep.