Besides being inspired by the colourfully patterned tipis in Montana, I have been highly influenced since childhood by Anishnaabe artist Norval Morrisseau (Copper Thunderbird). He was the founder of the Woodland Indian School of Art and focused on the spirit world capturing Windigos, spirit guides and animals by utilizing the most glorious patterns and colours. Unfortunately, this wise man was taken from us too soon:
"I transmit astral plane harmonies through my brushes into the physical plane. These otherworld colours are reflected in the alphabet of nature, a grammar in which the symbols are plants, animals, birds, fishes, earth and sky. I am merely a channel for the spirit to utilize, and it is needed by a spirit starved society."
I love his words and feel the same way. Once I'm painting, whether in my studio or elsewhere, I become absolutely absorbed by the work and totally forget everything around me. I don't really pay attention to composition or colour choices at that point and the work flows. That is why I have to step back and separate myself from the work-in-progress during each session and really look. I've always thought of the process as a meditation or prayer of sorts and I feel refreshed after time spent painting which is probably why I don't find it chore and relish the time in my studio.