I nearly made the mistake of writing an extremely long-winded post about putting together a new artist’s statement. Then I realized that it had somehow become an obsession and it was going nowhere; the more I wrote, the harder it became to understand.
You will be pleased to learn that I scrapped that idea and instead I will just put my artist’s statement here together with some notes that describe how I got to this point. I hope it makes for a better read and will help with writing one of your own. My previous article provides more guidance on structure and content.
The breakthrough moment of writing this version of my artist’s statement occurred when I selected three of my favorite paintings and wrote a few paragraphs on why I had created each one. That, together with an in-depth review of my painting history and motivation, caused things to fall into place; I realized that stories matter.
My Artist’s Statement
Each of my paintings has a short story woven into the fabric, often deep beneath the surface . Sometimes I know that story before I start work, but sometimes I only understand it when the painting is well underway .
All my paintings are built on simple, abstract ideas  which are used to create designs that consider the picture as a unified whole . I frequently modify reality or allow it to break down into abstraction in places .
I prefer to paint without sentimentality but even so, the act of painting always causes an emotional response which finds its way into my work .
 I’ve gone through many phases over the last twenty years, and this wasn’t always the case. For the first seven years of painting full time, I painted mostly portraits of dogs, and I didn’t have an artistic agenda. When I first started painting plein air painting, I painted more in a documentary style, recording things I saw. The desire to relate my art to stories came about much later in my career.
 I have often found that I’ve been motivated to paint something before knowing why. When that happens, I just get on with the process and let the story fill in as I go.
 In my book, I wrote at length about the concept of an abstract idea underlying my work. I learned this from artist Gregg Kreutz’s book “Problem Solving for Oil Painters” which I consider to be essential reading for any beginning painter.
 I first learned about this from the classic Betty Edwards’ book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” which I read and digested long before I started painting.
 I am not a hyper-realist painter. I often use painterly realism in conjunction with abstraction to manipulate the viewer into focusing on the important parts of an image. I went backwards and forwards with the terms I used here before deciding to keep this part as simple as possible.
 One of the things I find hardest to understand about my artwork, especially my portraiture, is the way that other people can often see an emotional content of which I am unaware. When I am immersed in a painting, pictures play in my head just as they do when I’m reading, and I form all sorts of abstract connections between what I see there and what I paint. However, I am adamant that I am not a sentimental painter.