My current body of work consists of mixed media paintings on panel. The work combines three of my favorite media: drawing, painting and collage. Each painting is created with layers of acrylic and/or oil paint, handmade and decorative paper, charcoal, graphite or ink and various mediums. The finished artwork merges the styles of abstraction and realism.
When I begin a new piece, I do not have a finished composition in mind. My first step is to create an inviting surface that stimulates my imagination. This is done by toning a painting panel with acrylic paint or by collaging some decorative or handmade paper onto the panel. Then I brush on large areas of acrylic paint and sometimes roll the paint on with printmaking brayers. Next, I may add some stamped marks, using my rubber stamp collection. I make several of these abstract panels and set them aside for future use.
To start a new painting, I decide on a figure or subject that fascinates me, choose one of my prepared panels, and sketch the figure onto the panel with charcoal or ink. Once the figure or figures are drawn in, I cut, tear and paste some paper to the piece and away I go. Each piece of artwork goes through a multi-phased metamorphosis which is constantly evolving and once it reaches a point where I am happy with it, the work is done. However, if I am not satisfied with the end result, I'll paint or collage over it and the piece continues to transform. My process is like a free form, improvisational dance where the dancers make up the moves as they dance. When I go into my studio, I try to let go, trust my instincts and have fun. My aim is to surprise myself and ultimately surprise the viewer, to make work that is quirky, expressive and aesthetically pleasing.
What is my work about? Movement, freedom, energy, and life force inspire me and because people, animals and nature abound in these qualities, they are my primary subjects. My artwork is not dark, in fact it is the opposite of darkness. A lot of my paintings are my “happy dance” and a reclamation of the child within or inner child, a psychological concept denoting a person's original or true self.
I believe in the power of art to uplift, enrich and transform our lives. I believe in the importance of beauty in our lives. There is a Navaho prayer that talks of “walking in beauty” all of our days. This Native American concept of The Beauty Way is a piece of ancient wisdom sorely needed in our contemporary world. Many art critics and some artists think the pursuit of beauty in art is terribly old fashioned. Artists don’t want to be viewed as old fashioned, nostalgic or insignificant. They don’t want to be dismissed, so they will often squelch their natural pursuit of beauty. I don’t agree with these artists or critics. Isn’t there already enough ugliness in the world? My purpose is to create beautiful works of art that will last my lifetime and beyond and to share my vision of beauty with my viewers.
In Beauty May I Walk- A Navajo Prayer
In beauty may I walk
All day long may I walk
Through the returning seasons may I walk
Beautifully will I possess again
Beautifully joyful birds
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk
With dew about my feet may I walk
With beauty may I walk
With beauty before me may I walk
With beauty behind me may I walk
With beauty above me may I walk
With beauty all around me may I walk
In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk
In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.