It is an easy yet very complex question to answer. I paint because it’s who I am. I am an artist. Creating art is an essential part of who I am. I find such great satisfaction when I am working a canvas. It’s often a unique combination of being meditative and at the same time an emotional release. There is one painting that I won’t ever sell: Textured Abstraction III. I created that piece after a tumultuous phone call with my dear father who was suffering from Alzheimer’s and neurosis. That piece is a reminder to me of the beauty I can create if I let go of all of the emotion and release it into my art. Why do I paint? I paint because I am an artist. It’s a part of me, right down to my soul.
I currently have two pieces of art that are on display for two months at the Maryhill Museum of Art. They will be hanging in the Goldendale, WA museum until Thanksgiving. They were chosen by Dr. Dana Carlyle Kletchka who is a professor of Museum Education at Ohio State University. I am pleased to share that “High Tide” has been given an Honorable Mention in the show. I love having the opportunity to share my art with a broad audience.
Can you tell me about your layering of oil paint with a palette knife on your art?
This video shows my process of paint layering. I will sometimes allow the under-painting to completely dry and at other times I like working with the gummy texture of the drying paint. Either way I enjoy the process of layering and scraping away, again and again until I have achieved a look I’m pleased with. The piece I’m shown working on was sold on the opening night of the new Basic Space Gallery in March 2017.
This past year I have done a lot of traveling. The farthest of my travels took me all the way to Bucharest, Romania. The closest was a drive through the Columbia Gorge after the fires swept through our beautiful, natural gem, filled with cascading waterfalls. Upon each return I would put a lot of thought and emotion into the colors, textures and general feel I had of that particular city, island, national forest, etc. Each piece in this collection is completely abstract but is my representation of that particular place and experience. For example: I spent the month of January in the US Virgin Islands. My painting, “St. Croix” (72x48) presents a bit of a dichotomy. The water in this beautiful Caribbean island was still a stunning blue, the skies expansive, dotted with clouds, the sand, soft and Naples Yellow in hue. But there was also massive destruction from recent hurricanes: homes destroyed, schools closed down, roads torn apart, vegetation lost. For me, this painting represents what is most beautiful and serene on the island along with what was most painful and destructive. These paintings are my expressions of ever changing landscapes.
Can you share about a few artists that have influenced your art?
Millet: I do adore his colors, the atmosphere he creates and the use of laborers as main subjects. I have always admired “The Gleaners” and it took my breath away when I first viewed the original.
Van Gogh: I think he will always be in my top five favorite artists; the texture, the movement, the subject matter. He is just such a talent! And his tragic personal story really affects me to the soul. In the end, he so strongly believed in his art and just wanted people to “like his pictures”.
Kandinsky: I love his early landscapes but also admire his work in Abstract Expressionism. He has a wealth of talent and was a true visionary; a pioneer in the abstract movement. His writings on color theory are truly fascinating and helped guide me during my years of teaching color theory to young students.
No, I actually spent many years painting Realism. I also very much admire the art of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. I naturally gravitated towards creating art in these styles. Eventually I began to explore pure abstract. I am such a lover of color and texture, that it was exciting to create art that had no recognizable features, where it was really all about the relationship the colors have to each other and the textures. I like to see myself as somewhat of a sculptor when I paint. I lay my oil paint so thick it is actually three dimensional in some places. Conversely, I will at times leave blank canvas showing or the paint so thin that it is nothing more than a wash with linseed oil. Or at times I will scrape away the paint with a palette knife leaving only the first layer exposed. The relationship of colors and textures really fascinates me and I am always striving to find new palettes, new color combinations, new experiences.