My preferred genre is still life for the opportunity it provides to celebrate the ordinary. Every object has a story and when there are multiple objects, a dialog ensues.
Although many of the objects in my paintings are timeless or herald from an earlier time, my approach is to paint them in a contemporary, simple way. Shape; pattern; rich, vivid, layered color; and breathing room are my hallmarks. The paintings begin with an everyday object - a glass jar, a hand-folded origami crane, vegetables, bowls, an old light socket, or an antique fan – that simply put, needs to take center stage. When an object has been well-loved, I am irresistibly inspired to honor it. Sometimes the compositions fall into place in the light sleep of morning. Other times, it’s a matter of selecting a cast whose members don’t always get along. There’s an almost audible “pop” when a composition gels.
Because I love drawing as much as painting, my work begins with a detailed drawing. I also generally do a not-so-quick oil sketch to test the original idea, color harmony, and composition. With the idea now firmly tested, I begin the painting. Many people ask how long it takes to finish a painting. Some take a month or two, but most often, six months pass before I put the paintbrush down, step away from the easel, and say, “It’s a painting.”
It’s a happy coincidence that realism is enjoying a resurgence in the art world, because as much as I try to make art in a less exacting way, my natural tendency is to find a flow in the details. Blame it on my first career, writing and editing, where the role of every word is to advance the story. When the words stopped ten years ago, a friend recommended that I take an art class to jump start the creative process. Thanks to that friend, and to the many excellent teaching artists and the artist community at Gage Academy of Art, I have never looked back.