When I see a white piece of paper, I feel I've got to draw. And drawing, for me, is the beginning of everything.
I don't like mixed colors that much, like plum color or deep, deep colors that are hard to define.
One of the first drawings I did in Paris - I wasn't thinking of doing drawings, but somehow or other, I kept drawing - I bought a hyacinth flower with a lot of leaves, just to make me feel like spring.
Matisse draws what I call the essence of the plants. He leaves a shape open. He'll do a leaf and not close it. Everybody used to say, oh, I got it all from Matisse, and I said, 'Not really.'
I did not want windows, only skylights. I chose my painting wall as it has the best morning light.
Shape and color are my two strong things. And by doing this, drawing plants has always led me into my paintings and my sculptures.
The paintings to me are always canvas; sculpture has always been metal, though I have made sculpture in wood, also.
In Paris in the late '40s, I started making my first reliefs. They are separate panels. I wanted to do something coming out of the wall, almost like a collage. I did a lot of white reliefs when I started because I liked antique reliefs, really old stuff.
All my paintings are usually done in drawing form, very small. I make notations in drawings first, and then I make a collage for color. But drawing is always my notation.
All my work comes from perceiving. I kept seeing things that were brooding in me. I'm not a geometric artist.
Geometry is moribund. I want a lilt and joy to art.
I was taught to draw very well when I was in school at Boston. And I grew to enjoy drawing so much that I never stopped.
Each drawing that I've done, I have found. Meaning, I see a plant I want to draw.
I don't labor over my drawings. I want to get freedom in the line.
I don't like acrylic because you can't get the density of color. And with each coat of oil paint, the surface gets better and richer.
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