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About the Work - Interview

Interview with Lanning Gallery

Q. What drew you into art ?

B. I’ve been drawing since early grade school. I liked sketching figures and faces. My family recognized my interest, particularly my mother and grandmother. Both were artists. One summer in my early teens my Grandmother arranged for me to take drawing lessons from a very accomplished painter she knew. We would draw side by side in his studio. It was great fun. To this day he was my greatest mentors. Soon after, my family moved to Italy where I was exposed to all the high art one could imagine.


Q. What type of art did you initially do?  

B. Initially I only used pencil since that was what was available. In time I tried  pastels and watercolor. I would read stories and illustrate my favorite parts.


Q. What drew you to the type of work you do now?  

B. As I’ve said, my work was mostly figurative and I also dabbled in landscapes. I got a lot of encouragement in that direction, of depicting realistic subjects. Abstract art in my family was somewhat frowned upon as inferior; “Artists who don't have the talent for realism do abstract art.” I carried that attitude through my time at art school. Obviously my attitude has shifted.

Q.  What is it about your current medium, subject and style that you find most compelling?

B. Eventually I did try my hand at more abstract subjects. I found approaching the canvas that way to be joyously spontaneous, exciting and freeing. This was true as far as technique, but also I discovered a spontaneous emotional and even spiritual connection to painting that I had yet not experienced. 


Q. How would you define your artistic vision?

B. I am really excited about the work I am doing right now. It’s really tapping into some place lovely. I just see endless possibilities.


Q. Do you find that it is your interior life or exterior life that draws you to what you create?

B. Art is the exploration of the mystery, the parts beyond our initial impressions and understanding. Each artist delves in and then creates a (visual) language to express what comes to them. They use that language to then offer it to the world. There is an almost shamanic aspect of creating art. There is often of feeling of channeling the work. It can feel as if something else is participating rather than being wholly responsible for it on my own. I think the term is flow. It's also no surprise to me that the study of yoga has been a significant element of my life for decades. Art and yoga feel like sister paths of mutual support, both truly asking to feel and look deeply into the meaning of things.


 Q. Tell me about your technique.

B. I use fluid acrylic paints mostly. I use a lot! I paint on rigid, canvas-covered wood panels. They hold the paint well while I work. Depending on how I wish the paint to move, I use various additional mediums that create various effects. After the layers of paint are applied to a panel, I manipulate the surfaces with a variety of tools, anything from plastic picnic plates to tooth picks to plain old gravity. Once it’s dry, I sometimes paint back into the surface with a brush to bring out certain details .


Q. What are your work habits?  Do you work on your art every day? All day?  Or, weekends off? Does inspiration have to strike?  Where do you work?  In silence and solitude or with people around or with music?

B. I work alone. I work three to four days in the studio. There is a certain amount of curing/drying time needed for my pieces so I have to let the painting have that time before I can clear the way for more painting. I also teach yoga and write books on yoga and between that and a family, I have blessedly full weeks.

Sometimes I paint with a variety music and get a groove going, but sometimes I paint in silence. On those days I can feel a bit Zen about painting and kind of make the process something like a meditation or perhaps like a tea ceremony.


Q. Do you work on more than one piece at a time?

B. No. I give each piece my full attention until it’s done. I always have plenty of stretched canvases ready. I look at my finished work a lot. At times something will come to me and I’ll paint into a piece again. 


Q. How long  does it take you to create a piece?

B. That totally depends. There is a lot of up front prep work: making panels, stretching canvas, planning color. Then lots of selecting and blending of pigments and mediums before any painting happens.

Some paintings might take days of slow refining. Others, after all the prep work is done, might be finished in just an hour. It totally depends on what I'm going for. 

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