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I work in charcoal, paints, pencil, and ink. The process of painting and drawing for my personal work differs from my process when working as an illustrator or a graphic designer. In that job, I am primarily engaged with the clients desires, and the offering of a visual solution to please them. When painting or drawing for myself, I am engaged with my own desires, as well as the demands of the painting or drawing.

This Land

This Land – Acrylic and Transfers

For me, art-making is an emotional, physical response to the world – what I see, hear and experience – and it can be a way to slow things down, to regain a sense of balance. But in order to complete a painting or drawing I must be in service to what it wants or needs, above and beyond my limited senses. In this way I must let go of control and listen, wait, and learn. Other artists – what they have done before me – and especially the painting itself are my teachers.

I begin by responding to something that calls to me in some way, that captures my eye, heart and mind, that invokes a strong internal response. Often, this includes the human or animal form, or the figure in the landscape. Feelings will emerge, and responding to them continues the process. Dreams, visions or memories might make their appearance, as well as things forgotten. If I can stay focused and open, something not previously known may arrive, a synthesis, an integration. I might get lost on the way, frustrated. Then the only thing to do is keep on putting marks of some kind onto the surface, and wait for enough of the drawing or painting to show up to be able to hear it tell me what it wants.

Marlene O’Connor

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