Abstract Landscape Figurative
I have always been an artist. I have known from the first moment I could hold a paintbrush that painting was my most natural expression. Thankfully my mother recognized my creativity and encouraged me to explore the arts. I was a shy child and she saw I craved a creative outlet, so she never stopped me from drawing on the walls, or from going to Europe by myself at age 19 to study art in Florence, Italy.
My training in Italy was classical, focusing on portraits, landscapes, and still lifes. I left Italy with a deep appreciation for a learned skill and a devotion to art as a way of life. The knowledge of how to mix and make paint, recognize a balanced composition, achieve perspective, and work with light and shadow is fundamental… It is what I call my toolbox. I take this toolbox into every painting, using its contents without conscious effort. It has become natural, something I do not think about. Learning all the rules has given me the freedom to discover how to break them… which is the essence of creativity. Studying the early renaissance artists became an obsession of mine while I was in Italy. The brilliant masters of the renaissance not only displayed incredible skill and creativity; they were dedicated to their trade. This dedication translates to devotion for me. I see dedication as commitment in my mind; devotion is commitment in my heart. This commitment fuels my desire to share creativity, express creativity, and live creatively. Art and devotion are one in the same to me.
I graduated with a degree in fine art from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with credits from Syracuse University in Florence, Italy, and I grew up In San Francisco, Ca. My childhood and studies are a subconscious influence, I am sure. However, my current inspiration comes in the moment. I do not have a preconceived idea of what I will paint. Each painting holds the potential for infinite possibilities. I allow it to flow though me. I do not try to control it. The only intention I have is to remain open and clear. My studio becomes a sacred space where anything can happen. When I finish a piece, I often wonder where it came from. I have learned so much about myself though my art. Each painting presents a lesson or a message. I like to think of each layer as a layer of consciousness… there is a lot there when I look deep enough.
My paintings consist of multiple layers. The canvas is hand stretched on a custom alder wood frame and then primed with gesso. I use water based paints first. Pure pigments, fluid acrylics, sometimes alcohol, vinegar, salt, a little champagne when I have it- whatever is in the studio. I often use interference pigments to reflect hidden colors. This is a very fun and free flowing layer to work with. I really just play with it. Most of the time the canvas is flat on a table or on the floor. I tilt the canvas and dance around it. I splatter paint and use a spray bottle as well. I keep layering the paint until there is something magical. Whatever happens is very organic- I go with it. I find beauty in the unexpected patterns and movement the layers create, so I keep some of this layer exposed throughout the painting. This water based layer creates the underlying texture and feeling.
The next layer I apply is adhesive and sometimes a sealer. From here I can piece together gold, silver, and copper leaf, handmade papers or tissue. I can use various chemicals to oxidize and patina the metal with heat. I love the reflections and texture the metals and paper create. It is one more window to peek thru the following layers.
Next I stand the painting on an easel and look at it. I start to apply oil and resin. Resin is like the butter in cake… It makes the painting richer and pulls the layers together. I rotate the canvas on the easel until I see something emerge. Sometimes it is a landscape, floral, or just pure movement. I never know. My paintings are rarely something specific. They are a feeling or the essence of an experience. To me, emotion is the universal language of art. Emotion is something we can all relate to on some level. The colors, light and movement, create an experience and depending on the viewer’s perception, can evoke a memory or emotion that is very personal. I have watched people cry, become uncomfortable, burst into uncontrollable laughter, or surrender to a peaceful sigh…
I never know what someone will see or feel when looking at a painting. It is as unique to that moment as it was for me to create. This is why I do not sign the front of my work. The process of creating it belongs to me (so I sign the back), however the finished piece belongs to the viewer. I do not want to detract from the experience.
When I can name a painting, I know the process of creation is complete. It has a natural balance I can feel. It is intuitive. The name comes to me when I stand back and look at the painting with fresh eyes. I can see thru the layers and feel some kind of message. So I write about it. Sometimes I write one line, sometimes a full page. It is interesting to look back and see a common thread in the writings. Like postcards from a trip, these paintings and writings document travels within myself… Into my awareness… physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s a never-ending adventure.
One of my favorite pastimes is traveling. Lately. I can see the influences of my trips to Asia in my paintings. Thailand, China, and India have all left some kind of imprint. I love living in the expansive and serene mountains of Colorado, however I also crave interaction with diverse people. The people I meet in my travels and thru my art are the true masterpieces.
I often wonder what art would be if no one saw it, or if I could not see another person look at my work. The interaction that is invited with a piece of art is truly exciting. It goes back to the universal language of art again… Looking at a painting with a complete stranger or a close friend opens a door for an experience. I love that. Most people who buy my art are excited to share their experience with it. To me, it is almost like looking in the mirror and seeing a different reflection. Not only do I see a common thread in my paintings, I see a common thread in individual experiences… in humanity. I was lucky enough to be in one of the galleries when a Japanese couple, who barely spoke English, purchased one of my pieces for their home in Tokyo. The shared emotion, far beyond words, affirmed my devotion to art.
My art is constantly evolving, as I am. I’m not sure if my art is an expression of me, or if I have become an expression of my art. The self-awareness I have gained thru painting has created who I am. So I keep painting because the possibilities are endless.