|What are your earliest memories related to art?
|I remember going to museums with my parents as a kid. I also was fascinated with wildlife, and would study the illustration plates in many different field guides.
|How and when did you start becoming an artist yourself?
|I’ve been told that I never stopped drawing and painting from my earliest childhood forward, but one of my earliest memories are of creating an illustrated booklet about dinosaurs when I was maybe five or six. (I still have it. It was drawn on manila construction paper in colored pencil, and put together using brass brads.) By age nine, my parents had given me a set of acrylic paints, and I was churning out sheet canvas paintings of birds selected from the Petersen field guide and a volume of the works of John James Audubon.
|What was the evolution like toward finding your current voice and visual vocabulary?
|I’d have to say that my artistic expression is the cumulative integration of my lifetime of work as an artist: my observation of nature and attention to detail as a child, as well as my young perfectionism for authentic realism. As a teenager, I dabbled in surrealism. In college, I tapped more fully into my artistic abilities through Bette Edwards’ book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. As a muralist, I discovered new artistic liberty, expressiveness, and spontaneity in painting quickly on a large-scale. I still seem to gravitate toward the aesthetic excellence evident in the natural world, in the things I see which make an impact on me. But my art is extremely diverse. One of my favorite works, “Hope Endures” is completely abstract. Another favorite, “Surreal Sunrise”, is a strikingly abstract and heavily stylized landscape with banded swirling colors for the sunrise. Some of my work is a cathartic unveiling, originating in and expressing what is an emotionally charged subject which is occupying my attention at the time. And although some artwork calls for incorporating elements or aesthetics which might be unappealing, I’ve always had an affinity for beauty in art, as is apparent from most of my work. My present works are prominently large and expressive paintings, not over-worked, not stiff, more heavy on the visual aspects than on any conceptual agenda.
|What is your process like?
|My process varies. Many of my pieces — many of the paintings, anyway — are created wholly from my imagination, and developed on the fly on the substrate. Sometimes I choose to “loosen up” through fast sketching until I feel that everything is “clicking” for me, and coming together just as I want it to, before I begin a session of painting. And other times I take a more deliberative approach, laying out the forms and proportions and key points carefully, lightly sketching them onto the canvas. I may then proceed using a slightly impasto technique for the underpainting basecoat, allowing my brushstrokes to carry over the critical placement of these forms. I often step away from my work, or even walk away altogether, to see it as a whole, with fresh eyes. I usually let the work itself have a role in determining how a painting develops. I don’t try to force it to look a certain way. It’s more of a process of discovering the piece as it begins to take shape. Finally, I can just tell when it looks right, or if something seems off. So I’ll make adjustments as I go, and finish up with such details, textural illusion, and light-source nuances as needed until it looks right to me, but stopping myself before a piece might otherwise be over worked. Some pieces might begin to approach natural realism, such as “Majesty in Winter Skies”. Others are complete while still very loose. I don’t set rules or methods for myself. If I’ve envisioned the painting ahead of time, I still just let its development determine where I go with it.
|Is there anything from your artist statement that you wish to expound on, that you normally don’t have the chance to discuss?
|Not really, no.
|What do you try to control in your surfaces, and what do you leave to chance?
|Color is important to me. So, if elements of the piece are colorful, I try to retain the maximum vibrance and saturation of the purest possible coloration appropriate to those elements. I also like texture in my painting surfaces. While some elements do call for smooth surfaces, such as the subtle gradients of a cloudless sky — and I will work to achieve this — otherwise, I don’t shy away from brushstrokes! “Hope Endures” contains a great deal of black pigment, but I used paints for matte areas of the painting and glossy areas as well, and used heavy impasto for the surface treatment, in some elements striated, and in others very rugged and rocky. I generally shun varnishes, as I’ve seen far too many paintings by other artists dulled and yellowed over time. My expressive approach to painting leaves much to chance. If it works, it stays.
|Where do you see your work going from here?
|I just want to paint more. There’s so much inside of me that I want to commit to canvas, or to some medium of artwork. I have so many paintings I’ve already made plans for, and so many already in the works. I want my work to speak to people, whether to delight, challenge, or inspire, depending on the piece. I strive to make each new piece my best work yet. It may be the curse of the artist, but I can always envision something yet more impactful and sublime. There is much I have yet to say with my art, I only hope that I’m afforded the time to do so.