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FOX, Stephen

There are a host of unknowns when I begin a painting. I do not attempt to faithfully document a particular place or event which nature provides; rather, the paintings are studio creations which evolve over time. I often have a reasonably clear idea of the subject and composition when I begin, but it is only through working with the paint that other characteristics emerge. For instance, what kind of weather conditions predominate? Is it a clear night, or is it humid, or misting, or raining? What needs to happen within the composition, with the color and light, to evoke a sense of mystery from the most ordinary of places?

My process allows for many surprises to occur as the painting unfolds. I might have a sense of the color and value relationships that I wish to explore, only to find in one layer of paint that many of my preconceptions need to be abandoned for new and previously concealed possibilities. Many painters know of this process of “listening” to the requirements that the painting itself begins to reveal. I bring many years of experience, dexterity and whatever artistry I possess into the process, but I also bring old habits and irrelevant preferences which can block something new from appearing. Remaining open is more than a necessary attitude when I work; it is the heart of the work itself.

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