A Note about Meaning In My paintings
I’ve never been very much interested in what my paintings mean and in fact I don’t believe that they really have any meaning except as they are interpreted by a particular viewer. I’m not consciously putting any meaning content into them that I understand to be extractable and I pretty much avoid any discussion with myself about possible meanings. All I really know with respect to meaning is that my paintings are in general life-affirming. I rarely paint in the presence of another person, I sometimes paint when I’m feeling lonely, and I may paint when I am sad, but I have never painted when I was depressed.
The fact is that I see my job as one of merely manipulating form, color and tone on a two dimensional surface and I hope that I’m doing that satisfactorily according to some principals of balance of which I seem instinctively aware. I don’t subscribe to any theory of hierarchy and the concept of “centre of interest” disappeared from my thinking many years ago. The challenge is always to bring the various physical elements into a state of equilibrium. In my case the subject matter is usually trees, flowers, skies and fields.
I’ve never been very much interested in drawing or painting people or animals. Just about anything else in nature becomes a subject of my painting. Still Lifes and architectural subjects show up rarely. I don’t seem to be too interested in man and the stuff he makes. Sometimes older buildings—maybe abandoned—become subjects, but often only because they are more or less reclaimed by the natural environment.
I am sure that I am “saying” something about myself in my paintings. Maybe only saying something about my likes by inclusion and my dislikes by omission. Whatever. Maybe I’m even kidding myself about the life-affirming thing, but I’d like to believe that my work has that positive thing going for it.
Paul R. Panton November, 2002