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Q & A / FAQ > Woodstain History and Process

Woodstain History and Process


My primary painting medium since 2006 is oil-based woodstain on paper.

I love working with woodstain - the discovery of infinite images within the context of a limited palette;  the fluidity that teeters on the verge of uncontrollable;  the smell... toxic, forbidden, love it.

Woodstain is an unforgiving medium.  Unlike paint, if you make a mistake, you don't have the opportunity for a correction, unless you were lucky enough to make the mistake in one of the light tones and can cover it effectively with a darker pigment.

I am frequently asked what "woodstain" means.  It is just that - the stain made for wood.  Paper being crushed wood.  It is a medium I may be the only artist using on paper and canvas, but the rich, velvety look of it hooked me the first time I tried it. 

And the limited palette keeps me honest. 

My process is intuitive - I lay down a line or brush stroke, and simply follow where it goes.  There is no preconceived outcome or known image in mind when I begin.  It is a process of discovery and acceptance.

As images begin to appear to me in the process, I will at times actively strengthen them with choice of color, or by the addition of a line, but I always allow the work to lead.  The biggest part of my fascination with the process is stepping back when the work is complete and finding images at a distance which I hadn't seen as I was working with it.

But the best part is when other people look, and find completely different images and meaning in the piece.  This is an integral part of my work - that it holds something slightly or substantively different for each person that comes in contact with it, and that it holds a unique story for each.

The hidden things are most clearly here.


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