Kevin Freeman, painting outdoors in the Maine summer

Kevin Freeman, painting outdoors in the Maine summer

When you live in Maine you look forward to summer all winter and spring. Alternately, when one feels a cool drift of air, even in the middle of summer, one is reminded of fall and even winter. I cannot help it. Today, however, is perfect and I will take refuge here, for now. The temps are in the mid to high 70°s F and it is dry and absolutely gorgeous.

I like best to be outside —painting in plein air. Since early spring I have found it much more seductive to be searching inside, waiting patiently for discoveries. Neglecting the outside world, so full of richness and mysteries has not been easy.

What is it that I am hoping to find in my paintings? It could be anything. Something that surprises me. Mostly, something that I didn’t know. As I move paint across the canvas I watch the entire canvas, seeing how the whole is affected or if it isn’t. I listen to my inner voice, “try red there, try burnt umber and cerulean over there, just not too much cerulean.” From this, another part of my brain accepts these ramblings or denies them. “Yes’” I think to myself, a little orange will be just right down there but I will flip the canvas or grab another one off the floor. If I can just get past the point of conscious decisions maybe I can make some progress…

There are as many approaches to painting as there are painters. By painters I mean people who use canvas, board or surface and paint to express anything. I love paint and canvas and I love to apply colors to surfaces. I am looking for something spectacular. Something that is epic and something that has never been seen.

I spend many hours on this adventure. Not knowing what I am doing but quite confident it is a worthy cause. Painting is an expansion of my being. My soul flourishes here, as I am free. I am free? Well, of course not. As I paint my mind reels with images of great artists paintings, essays, tweets, instagram images, newly found inspirations and of course my brushes come between my wanting open mindedness and the canvas. I am paralyzed, overwhelmed with insecurities and self prescibed encumberances. Yet somehow, in spite of this, I become lifted into determination and hopefulness. Yes, if I can knock down these thoughts and be honest and let creativity open up, my process will abound.

I am most comfortable in a state of unknowing. Where my paint is mixed and my brushes flow intuitively, where I wake up after 2 or 3 hours not knowing where I am or who painted these pictures all about me. But that doesn’t happen. Rather, I walk on a tight rope, hoping to experience the feeling of falling but managing to balance just long enough to avoid it.

Paintings come. They come from no place and everyplace at the same time and I move on. Not being too giddy as the result isn’t as desirable as the process. The process calls me as the rippling waters call the fisherman. Maybe today there will be a great fish and at the very least I will have tried.

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