Artist's Statement

I paint because I must. I didn't set out to become an artist; my art found me. My goal is to express that raw place where the whispers live. When I paint, I exhale: the knot, the joy, and the hurt. I heal. I give back.

My backgrounds are brush-applied acrylic foundations. My two favorite tools are a small flexible metal palette knife and a cement trowel that I use to spread bold, wide "planks" of paint. I also use nails, used (stiff) brushes and wooden paint-stirrers to make my mark. I like cutting oil paints with a drying agent, which gives the paint less viscosity, which in turn provides an unplanned slash or streak. There are usually several layers to my work. Through the layers, my excavating is done.

I am moved by two subjects: salt water and crosses. I conjure sunsets across the bay, briny odors, reflections, drops and splashes - and ever-changing shades of blue. There’s the violence and unpredictability of surf, as well as tranquil seas. As for the cross, it’s an ancient symbol. It appeared on Indian cave walls and in Egyptian tombs long before the birth of Christ. I like its geometry and balance: horizontal-vertical; positive-negative; death-resurrection. In Christianity, there are over 50 symbols for the cross. In my work, I most often use the Greek (+) and Latin (†) crosses as well as (X), the cross of St. Andrew.

I start with a scheme and then the work takes the plan in its own direction.


Steve Haweeli at PechaKucha Night Hamptons Vol.20