"You must live on a farm....."
This is what people say every time they see my paintings for the first time. Nope, not I. Grew up on an island in the Caribbean and have lived in downtown Toronto for the past 25 years, very few farm animals have come into my life!
The farm animals all started with this one cow, I saw the image on line somewhere and something about it spoke to me so I decided to paint my version of it, this then lead to an entire series The Red Barn which then morphed into a series of "Bovine Beauties" which lead to The Grey Barn.
Way back when subject matter was largely dictated by wealthy patrons, either nobility - their portraits; or The Church - biblical scenes. Now of course we as artists can paint whatever the heck we want - sometimes it can be a struggle to find that subject matter, some paint what they see, others what they feel - I find the latter far more challenging. To be honest with you even writing about it is bloody challenging! Who among us hasn't been faced with the taunt of the blank canvas?
The "what" is for some an evolution, Mondrian painted landscapes with windmills and rivers for decades before moving on to the geometric work he is now famous for. For others, like Frida Kahlo it is a constant “I don't paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality.”
I suppose for me the "why" is more important than the "what", I paint because I must, by not doing so I am denying myself part of what makes me who I am. I figure if I keep taking care of the "why" the "what" will eventually take care of itself.