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Erin Lawlor: Interview

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Valerie Brennan interviews painter Erin Lawlor about her work and process.

Lawlor comments: "One painting very much leads to another. There's a certain amount of background work that goes on before I get down to the nitty-gritty, so that takes the pressure off the starting point, helps the warming-up process. It's not that these don't matter- they do, in terms of initial choices of format, tonal values, but it's a build-up over days or weeks. There's a gradual build-up before the culminating phase of work. I think it was de Kooning who said that painting a picture was like crossing the road, and at some point I find I have to just have to propel myself into it and take the leap. In that final phase it's more a question of being attentive to what's going on in the canvas for me, there's an internal logic that's takes over, the moment Guston described as leaving even yourself at the door. And of course I never know it is the final phase. Despite the quick drying times there's a few days when I can still erase the whole thing and start over, and I do that constantly. It's only over time that I ever know if I think a piece is really finished. And even then, not so much finished, as satisfactory, if it has life of its own, and one that interests me. I self-edit constantly, destroy a lot, I'm very wary of complacency."

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