I’m making semi-abstract paintings of plant species, primarily ones native to Ontario. At one end of the scale, some of these pictures show an entire tree’s silhouette. At the other end, some contain only a few leaves, intersecting and repeated with variations across the canvas. The title of each piece usually contains the species, like “black pine” or “spicebush.” I use such titles because I want to raise viewers’ knowledge and appreciation of nature — if only by a little bit.

But I’m not aiming for accuracy, at least of colour. For each painting, I plan the light-dark pattern and colour harmony before I start. Applying my selected hues in glazes, thick pastes, and spatters, I build rhythms across the picture. Sometimes I include hard-edged rectangles to contrast the organic forms; other times I use only the curves found in nature. But always, creating interesting colour and rhythm is as important to me as representing trees, leaves, or flowers.

–Bob Young