Artist’s Statement

For me, the best painting looks effortless.

I believe it’s the brush and how it is used

that separates the master from

the ordinary.

I use Chinese camel-hair brushes for a number of reasons. The first is the feel. They are light and have a straight barrel: no matter where my fingers are on the barrel, it always feels the same. I usually hold the brush like a dart, as though I am about to throw a bull’s eye. And that is what I’m trying to do. I try to see the mark on the paper, in my mind’s eye before I make it.

The hairs on Chinese brushes have both resilience and tension. With one stroke, I am able to have a hard edge and a soft edge, one from each side of the brush. I load the brush with two colours, which means that the last colour is the first on the paper, then a blend of the two, and then the first colour trails out onto the paper.

Whenever anyone asks my advice about painting,

I say, “Put more effort into how you use your brush

and less into the concept of the picture.”

“Painting chickens is like painting traffic: you pick out a chicken and wait for it to stop. The more I paint chickens, the more I know that they are each and every one unique. My chickens have personalities, and they enjoy life.”