Stephen Mark Artist Statement "Humankind did not weave the web of life. We are but a strand within it. Whatever we do to the web we do to ourselves." Seattle, Suquamish Chief (1786-1866) I began as a figurative painter being interested in the expressive Nature of the human body. Later I chose to combine animal and human features in my work, creating hybrid bodies that are part fantasy, part mythology. Slowly the backgrounds of these early figure paintings became more interesting. In a sense the backgrounds seeped onto the foregrounds of my work. My path as an artist has led me to a type of painting where the image has been cast away to reveal something much more uncontrollable. My painting is exploration and meditation. It is a way of letting go and inviting nature to the canvas. I paint by turning inwards and toward elemental processes relying on intuition and vision. I think about the the world in which I live when working including forests, streams, trees, animals, and plants, and the sufferings and emanations inherent in the all of nature. Nature is reflection and enduring and yet uncontrollable attribute of our planet. Horse hair, dog hair, bone, shells, feathers, beehives, wasp nests, sand, stone, stuffed animals, toy parts, petroleum jelly and vaporub are some of the materials I like to use when I paint and construct my canvases. I work out of my basement and in my backyard. During the summer I paint outdoors to utilize the sun and wind as ay to effect and age the canvases. I work the paintings as they lay flat on the ground, pouring mixtures of oil and water based paint over the canvas and sculptural elements: color becomes a binder and molding device to build and construct surface. 2-4 weeks curing time is not unusual I help the drying along by using fans and heaters where needed. During and after the drying period I add horse hair by tying and stuffing it into the ‘cavities’ of the ‘sculptured surfaces ’. The hair is integral to the overall feel and balance of the each work.