When I am working on a piece, I know that I belong at the easel. My artwork receives my utmost attention. My time dedicated to this practice is invaluable to me, made possible by the space and materials I have allowed myself for this lifestyle, supported by the time and effort I have invested in learning how to draw and paint, and proven by my existing body of work. When I am away from my easel, I am usually looking at my surroundings for potential compositions or considering how I will begin my next session.

In the course of creating a picture in progress, there are many exciting stages for me. The beginning includes deciding upon the subject matter, medium, size, and length of time I will devote to the project. The stages of completion include the joy of applying the materials, in depicting large masses and fine details. The desired result is the reward of successfully portraying what I had in mind from the start. I tend to place strong emphasis on light effects, which provides dimensional information about objects and their environment. Compositions should be graceful, the foreground and most important details moving the eye through the picture while the background and more neutral elements support the scene without failing to be interesting.

Technically speaking, the act of creating a picture is cooperatively manual and visual, though I find it to be more cognitive and less physical. A finished piece should show no signs of struggle or forced effort. Elegant craftsmanship must be executed by making decisions before materials are applied to the surface. Once the piece has been developed accurately, final spontaneous additions can be added for a life-like quality.

I usually find a favorite detail in my finished piece like a highlight on a flower or sunlight striking a lake or a well-modeled pair of eyes, but I never want this detail to be isolated or noticeably better than the rest of the piece. While my paintings encompass a wide range of subjects, my purpose remains to finish a picture worth studying over and over.

Kerri McKay