I picked up the book James Lavadour: Landscapes from the library and was so struck by his description of his process that I’d just like to re-present it some of it here:
You see how round these hills around here are. I would walk down the canyon and out of the canyon and I would become aware of every step and every breath I made. I felt like I was walking on an egg– this huge, immense, evenly formed sphere. The first thing I realized is that the world is round, circular and that everything I do is circular– the way I move, the way my blood pumps, is a rhythmic pulse. ..[.]
I did the drawings because I could not take it all in. I could not look at the complexity of the world and discern a rock from a tree, when it came to drawing. But when I began to look at these things in elemental form, and realized that they’re all based on concentrated masses of organic movement, I began to break things down into elemental rhythms and patterns and motions.
It was all kinetic. I would learn these things not by looking at them but by walking. I began this whole process of extracting a certain kind of knowledge from nature just by engaging with nature. I tried to tell myself not to think– just walk, just see, just feel, just hear. So I went through a whole period where I did nothing but walk and collect elemental little bits and pieces. All of a sudden I realized that what I was looking at and what I was doing were the same thing. Whatever is out there is in her. Everything that I wanted to do as an artist I realized that I already possessed as a being, I was an event of nature myself. I could become a conduit for making art, a conduit of nature, a conduit of this extraordinary event.
[…] I had this movement going on, I had this paint erosion going on, and I couldn’t quite put them together. I was looking for something that had as much life as the nature I was experiencing. I did not want a representation, or a depiction, or a portrayal. I wanted something that was an actual event, that was as lifelike as the land that I was walking on.