Looking back at a finished piece, I often peer at marks and overlays of colour and think, 'How did I do that?' or 'Why did I do that?.' A feeling of disassociation comes over me as I realise I don't remember making those marks or adding that glaze, or the sequence of actions that created that result. Where was my brain when I was doing all of that? Through creating each of my works I have come to understand that I subconsciously enter a 'zone' at an early stage of a painting. This zone is a space totally free of artistic judgement, critique or analysis. It's a place where the future disappears and thoughts of final outcomes are far, far away. It is a time when immediacy, intuition, play and experimentation are free to roam across the canvas, unfettered by control. Spending time and investing energy in this zone is where the real magic of a painting starts to happen for me. The 'understory' starts to develop and secrets and surprises become embedded for later discovery. Only when I feel that enough evidence of endeavour is apparent can I take a painting into the next phase, and allow critical judgement to return to my process. The Free Zone is an essential and intrinsic part of my working process. It's a place where I give my creative energy to my materials and let them do their thing.