The small, beautiful things that are easily overlooked and forgotten in the hustle bustle of everyday life inspire my paintings. When searching for something to paint I am forced to slow down and look for the things that appeal to my senses. I am drawn to nature’s vibrant colors and the translucence of flower petals against the opaque leaves. I enjoy the shapes and patterns found in nature, and how color can be used to pull the viewer’s eye throughout a composition. I also find myself drawn to reflective surfaces. Pushing reflected colors and yet still creating a believable three-dimensional form is intriguing.
I hope that people viewing my work have trouble looking away from the painting. I want my images to be extremely bold and the colors lush and unexpected. The image should grab people from afar and draw them in. Many of my images create a push-pull relationship between foreground and background through the use of realistic flowers and the very loosely painted backgrounds.The use of wet-on-wet paint creates blurred organic shapes that offset the vivid and realistic flowers in the foreground. My most recent paintings also play with the use of a black background to push the translucent qualities of various flowers and how light is reflected off the petals.
Years ago an instructor at Maryland Institute, College of Art made a comment about the need to “fall in love” with what you are painting. I’ve scrapped a lot of paintings because I was worrying about switching over laundry or what I could whip up for dinner. I actually keep one of these paintings hanging on my studio wall to remind myself of the slop that I am also capable of creating. If I find myself becoming automatic and preoccupied, I stop painting. There is a certain connection that happens between artist and object and if it doesn’t happen, or you don’t “fall in love” with the object, the painting feels stilted. I love watercolors because of the unforgiving quality of the medium; if you aren’t engaged and able to act with speed and decisiveness the painting doesn’t work. I try to ride the line between impossibly intense colors and painting a believable subject. Recently, I have found myself straying from direct observation to making decisions on color, shape, and composition based on what the painting needs.
I have had extensive training as a painter but sometimes the willingness to bend the rules and processes to fit your own artistic voice are the most important part of an artist’s personal growth. It has to be okay to be uncomfortable and to trust oneself enough to let the paintings guide you. Everything can’t become too precious. As I have started to become more recognized and sell many pieces, the trap I most want to avoid is creating the same painting over and over. While I may work in a series, or address a subject more than once, I am constantly looking for where my next piece will take me. Sometimes that idea will germinate from something very simple. I am in a very comfortable place right now because I have reached a point in my career where I am painting for myself and if the general public is receptive that is nice but not totally necessary.
My hope is that my images will bring enjoyment to viewers and that some of my fascination and reverence for nature will become theirs.