CLARA DODD BLALOCK - Art school experience in the mid 1960's and the New York abstract expressionist painters of that era have had a great influence on my work over the years, I've carried that time of study into my painting today. Most of my work is abstract. I work on large canvas, use large brushes and get my whole self into the painting. I am in constant motion as I work all over the surface to create a unified whole. I tend to work in themes and generally do many paintings in a series before moving on to another subject. I like to work on a concept until there is nothing further that can be done, by me, with those shapes and ideas. When I am working on a painting, I do not allow rules to get in the way. I know the basic principles, which gives me the freedom to paint without thinking too much. I'm able to put more of myself into the piece, to let the brush be an extension of who I am, what I'm feeling at the time and to say what I want to say with paint and marks. Most of all I want my voice to come through in the finished piece. Oil is the medium I prefer, on canvas and prepared paper. I have a strong drawing background and use that in my painting. Graphite, willow charcoal and oil stick become a part of the surface as it builds. The lines and shapes become the story or history of the painting. I am always open to surprises as they happen along the way. I am a member of Plein Air Painters of Georgia and paint out as often as I can. I think the experience outside keeps me fresh inside the studio. I am a spiritual person and feel a connection with a higher power in what I do. I think my talent is a gift and I feel an obligation to use that gift. This journey is far from over for me. I am excited each time I lift a brush and dip it into paint. I do not know where the experience will take me but I am anxious to grow and explore the possibilities.