My nephew, Mat, has been asking me for some artwork and we hadn’t had time to sit and discuss what he wanted until a few weeks ago.

I started by asking him some basic questions: “what styles, colours, and moods do you like?”

He said abstract for style, greens for colours, but couldn’t quite verbalize the moods. I know he loves music and often, like me, gets hooked to near obsession when finding a new artists or style he likes… he’s been listening to Modern Jazz and a few pieces by John Coltrane were fresh in his mind.

Jazz often kickstarts my work, especially the more abstract pieces and I feel it heightens my expressions. I was getting closer to what he wanted. I asked him if he had any art at home that currently expressed the moods he was trying to explain… He showed me an abstract from an artists that neither of us knew… it was a green on green abstract and it expressed a little serenity, calmness, and a punch of chaos for him… mirroring his current state of mind… the chaos was a splattering of yellow throughout the variations of green. As we talked further, I understood he was on a journey of self-discovery and the painting represented the starting point towards the serenity he desired.

I had painted Isolation Landscape a few years back when I was on a similar journey to my amazing nephew… in the colours that I then felt expressed my goals (thus, the crisp and definite colours)… for me, I needed to paint my destination, not my journey. I’m still learning how to be more in the now and maybe I could have made it a series of processes towards my goal of serenity. In talking to Mat, I felt he wanted to embrace the process and fully understand it, so he needed something far less definite, but could still use a goal post to aim for.

This is where I started… with Isolation Landscape…

I decided to paint over my own journey and see how it helped me understand both his and mine.

My first step was to change the colour pallet to greens… it always starts with the large surfaces… I then used a Gell medium to build up texture over the old colours. I wanted texture, because my nephew spent a while expressing his liking of the textures on different works.

Funny note, I had forgotten that my original painting was done over a reclaimed canvas and some of the old, pink dye on the canvas started to bleed through with the Gel medium…

Now, I’m on a journey… how am I going to place the greens? Where will a yellow jump in? Will I use other colours too?

Stay tuned…


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