By Tom Root, oil on canvas, 46” x 39”

I painted “The Back Table, Summer” directly onto the canvas from life, with no preliminary drawings or dry media used, but just going in with brushes on the blank canvas. This is now my usual way of working. I find direct painting more intuitive and engaging than proceeding through various indirect steps—but it took me years to be comfortable with it.

My daughter sat for the piece and listened to CDs to pass the time. I had just gotten a Burt Bacharach retrospective boxed set for my birthday, and she was very taken with it and decided to choreograph a ballet piece to one of the songs. So I painted, the orchestra played, and she choreographed in her head, tapping her fingers on the table.