My Painting Process
Upon my arrival in Edmonton in 1969, I started to look for sources for materials. I had made some of my own paints in England and Italy and had begun to work with acrylic mediums. I made the acquaintance of the St. Laurent family, owners of Tower Paint, a commercial paint manufacturer. Over the next ten years I worked with them to learn more about paint and formulate the acrylic gel mediums I required; acrylic gel is a clear, thickened acrylic solution that provides paint with thick body and transparency. This material was starting to become available as an artist medium, but in mainly in small quantities from the United States, and it was quite expensive. I did not have the funds to buy the quantities I needed, plus I really wanted to know how to make my own, hoping that this might bring me the freedom to improvise and discover a new form of painting.
Gradually over the years, my process was refined and by 1981, I had developed a medium custom-made for my own aesthetic purposes. I was able to create some new possibilities with paint by inducing crazing, promoting separations in the paints surface to allow one colour to be seen through the colour below. Using this process, I could initiate fresh drawing, colour, and surface, combining the all-over freedom of painting that had inspired me in the work of Jackson Pollock and Larry Poons, with the contrast of colours I admired in the work of Henri Matisse and Kenneth Noland.