On Painting

Destruction and Resurrection

From an interview with Patrick Graham (Irish Arts Review, Winter 1987)

Do you enjoy the process of painting?

"Painting, for me, is an exhausting business... Everybody thinks that painting is a kind of spontaneous eruption, but after I've made the initial image, worked out the whole logic of the thing and put it down on canvas, I'll usually step back from it and say, 'That's not it'. I begin to despair again, and at that moment out of sheer desperation, I begin to destroy the work. I destroy it - and this is a paradox - and out of the destruction comes the final painting.

"Resurrection" oil/paper14 x 18"

"..Now and then I do slip into a kind of descending staircase which can bring you close to a universal source, and that experience governs my sense of painting and that of being a painter... You have to keep yourself in awe of people's humanity, and if you manage to do that, you might paint some pictures that are bigger on the inside than they are on the outside."

Stacy CaldwellComment