The Process

the process

“Working with a variety of materials such as fluid acrylics, heavy-bodied acrylics, house paint, and ink allows me to explore an array of textures and techniques. The different viscosities of these paints enable diverse mark-making opportunities. The materials are applied to Birch panels, which enable a more physical manipulation of the paint. The solid surface of the panel allows for scraping, pulling, and dragging the paint, creating tactile interactions not possible with a traditional canvas

I employ an eclectic variety of tools: from big wallpaper guards, trims, and scrapers, to brushes and specially modified paint bottles equipped with needles for fine lines. These tools extend my ability to express and manipulate the acrylic paint, creating unique shapes and textures that add to the depth and complexity of each piece

Most of the painting process happens on the floor. I work around the canvas, engaging with it physically, pouring energy into each brush stroke or squeeze of the paint bottle. This process can be tiring, but it is also invigorating, creating a dynamic dance between me and the canvas. I usually work on at least two or three pieces at a time, allowing the paint to dry on one while I continue on another.

My palette often begins with fluorescent, bright colors, a technique not dissimilar to my previous landscape works. The painting process then becomes about selectively neutralizing certain areas, creating a balance between the vivid and the subdued. This constant back-and-forth creates a dynamic tension in the paintings, driving them toward their final form.

One of the most captivating aspects of these paintings is the illusion of depth. By layering transparent and opaque paints, I can create the sensation of looking into a deep, almost infinite space. The process of painting becomes an exploration, where each line or mark adds to the spatial illusion. It’s fascinating that abstract painting can create such depth, often surpassing even that of a landscape painting.

Towards the end of the process, I add decorative lines, spatters, and strokes to emphasize certain areas. These elements draw the viewer’s eye and add a sense of spontaneity and energy to the piece. Sometimes, I’ll add a gradation overlay at the end to bring focus and attention to specific parts of the painting, further enhancing the visual journey of the viewer.”

Fluid Narratives
30" x 12''

While I still hold a deep affection for natural landscapes, the process of painting them began to wane in its charm. I found myself yearning for a transition into abstraction, where even the simplest objects could transform into something remarkable. this inclination steered me towards the use of acrylics, a medium abundant in possibilities for creating distinctive marks, altering surfaces, and utilizing an array of implements. It was exhilarating to embark on this journey into uncharted territories.

The creation of each piece was a combination of intention and discovery. Thumbnail sketches guided the initial layers of color and composition, but I remained open to the painting guiding me in a different direction. This interplay between planning and spontaneity added to the intrigue of the process.

about marla

Lyrical Abstraction
4" x 5''

Despite the initial hesitancy before making the first mark, the act of painting was thoroughly enjoyable. Responding to the marks on the canvas, building on the interesting parts, and eliminating what didn’t work is a dance. It’s a process of unification that eventually coalesces into a beautiful, finished piece.

Mutable Realms
36" x 24''

What I love most about these paintings is that they are like little magical worlds, more poetic than my realistic works. Each time I look at them, I discover something new. While representational images rely on likeness, these abstract pieces rely on the engagement of an r t – making principles, making theme x citing and unpredictable.

Vibrant Dichotomies
24" x 48''

I don’t want to prescribe how viewers should engage with these works. Rather, I hope they can simply revel in them, appreciate their beauty, find something new in them each time they look, and maybe even spot the occasional ‘face’ or ‘duck’ or ‘letter form’ that spontaneously emerges during the painting process. They are part of the journey of exploration and discovery that each painting undergoes, and they echo the serendipity I experience in the process of creation.”

Resonant Echoes
24" x 48''

Knowing when a piece is complete can be tricky. For me, it’s when I reach a point where I feel any further ad dition would detract from the unity of the piece. It’s an intuitive sense, knowing when you’ve reached that ‘magic’ point.

I believe these paintings allow for a purer engagement with raw creativity. The principles of art making – composition, color theory, design principles – are all there, but they’re elevated, taken to a new level. There’s no reliance on representational imagery here; the success of each piece depends solely on how well these principles have been engaged.