​​​VerBurg Studio

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Of Dust Bunnies And Straw Berries:
The Theory Of My Practice
Paul VerBurg

My work is contemplative. I cannot remember a time when I was not curious as to how things worked, where do ideas come from. What is it that makes words represent objects? What feelings brings a color to an emotion? Years ago I began to search for the origin of my own creativity. Within that search, I found myself hypersensitive to patterns and overlaps in imagery and thoughts, I questioned myself and the way things are, constantly. My challenge today is not to merely combine images and ideas but to work within the intersections of these disparate themes, breaking down the figure, the landscape, and natural elements into abstracted patterns and shapes thereby redefining and developing my own personal narrative. 

I have come to believe an artist’s vision is at its most pure when the veil between the conscious and subconscious states is thin and the artist is able to translate that vision of the beyond/within for others to experience. I also believe this imagery is for the most part autobiographical in the sense that at that moment the artist is honestly relaying his life experience. 

When I began drawing in school, I worked only in pencil. I began simply, with representative images of nature, animals, and figurative cowboy imagery, all familiar sights and objects (photo-realistic and popular images for the area I was living in). But I felt there was much more to artwork than I was allowing myself to experience. I began to experiment by introducing color, using gouache or oil pastel beneath the graphite in a process that mimicked the coloration in vintage hand colored postcards. The ensuing images were shadowy environs, sometimes juxtaposing symbols and photorealistic images. I came to realize how intertwined and influenced my life was with the objects that surrounded me. Clocks, hats, windows, landscapes, and dreams transformed into visual riffs, abstractions, and representational studies. Veils of overlaid elements led to many combinations of oil paint, oil pastel and pencil. 

Currently my studio practice is one of intuitive discovery where ideas come to mind from influences as diverse as wordplay, scents, and walks outdoors. I look at my pets and wonder how they see things. I daydream about how Mother Nature might truly feel about her earthly children. I’m still searching for the sparks that make my hands move across a surface. I question and challenge myself daily. My approach to painting is fairly traditional, although I do use a lot of paint. Often the paint is straight from the tube onto the canvas, then with knife and brush I make adjustments. At times I forego even those tools and simply move the paint with more paint … there really aren’t any rules. 

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