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About My Process

Heavily influenced by the Abstract Expressionists, my concerns have always been less about content and more about formal composition.  I see color, shape, line, form, space and texture—and the feelings they evoke when arranged in a way that “works”-- as my subjects.  Abstract painting has often been compared to the apparent spontaneity and intuitive process of jazz, but what makes a jazz composition work is the same thing that makes a painting work. Each new note responds to the preceding ones, and abstract marks, gestures, and color choices are also in constant conversation with each other.  This ongoing conversation is also between my hand and my head as one moves and the other follows in response.  As I paint, add, subtract, rub out, scrape, and reveal, I often think of the interaction between creation and destruction.  I notice how aging, change, and the loss of what was, can reveal or lead to more possibility, new subtlety, new beauty. 


Current Paintings


In the time of Covid, as California burns and the sun cannot be depended upon to come out, when fear, anxiety and worry over whether we will ever have a socially just society, I quarantine in my studio.  Working "in social isolation" my work turns dark as I search for vessels large enough to contain it all, and I look for the light within. My work becomes more layered, more textured, and more reflective (literally, with metallic paint, and metaphorically, as it mirrors my inner and outer worlds).  I find myself painting houses, doors, containers, and escape boats.


Mixed Media


This work on paper, wood panels or canvas, is built up, layer, after layer with a range of materials and mediums.  Many of them begin with graphite rubbings, and some of the rubbings are taken from the highly textured surfaces of previous paintings that were themselves built up with acrylic mediums or reworked from even older paintings. 


I then cover (or partially cover) the graphite with encaustic medium.  After fusing with heat, I apply oil stick, oil paint, and/or acrylic and latex.  I continue to look for interesting surfaces to create the initial rubbings—sometimes using the rough texture of the canvas or the wood panels themselves, sometimes using found objects.   A few of the smaller pieces began with rubbings from lava rock on the Big Island of Hawaii. 


Just as I believe that each painting I make could not have been done without the one before it, I see each of these as directly related to, and a product of, the past.

“Silver Linings”


I am drawn to silver and other metallic paints that sometimes produce an almost mirror-like effect that is meant to allow for, and evoke, the process of introspection and self-examination.

I first began using it during a particular personally reflective time, and I saw it as quite symbolic--literally a reflection of myself and what I was experiencing, as well as symbolic of aging and a desire to recognize the gifts--and silver linings--of experience.  Now I use silver paint because I think it's gorgeous.


Tiles, Squares and Compositions:


At the beginning of 2019, I spent several months painting over four hundred 6” square bisque tiles with ceramic glazes for a bathroom remodel. 


I loved the spontaneity, the looseness, and the freedom of the process, as well as the freshness and the square format.


Inspired by that, I began to translate the process into paint and began creating 12” x 12” and 24”  x 24” square paintings on both canvas and gessoed wood panels, some of which I then joined into larger compositions to mimic the tiled walls. 

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