Painting is like holding up a mirror into your soul. It requires you to look yourself in the eye. There is no forcing your way through a great painting - it will expose you the minute you try to control the work. In order to keep my work deeply authentic, I work on as many as eight pieces at a time, knowing only a select few will leave my studio. Each piece is valuable to the process, and working on multiples allows me to get through blocks until the work is freed to live beyond the brush. Having my hand in numerous works at once also enables me not to overthink and releases the ego from the work. My process begins with an oversized roll of archival paper or primed linen. From there, I measure and cut until I have a variety of sizes and textures. I then lay each work on the floor and begin making marks quickly and spontaneously before pausing, looking and reflecting, often times leaving the studio in order to return with a fresh eye. In my life and in my work, I have learned the pause is as critical as the mark. When I understand what my next move needs to be, my process begins again. With each layer, I include a variety of materials, moving between drawing and painting, juxtaposing the careful placement of lines and gestural moments of color. I know a piece is finished when the work is lively with breath and spontaneity, while rich in detail and history.   -Carly Allen Martin