I started drawing and painting at a very early age, and I am a self-taught artist. My strongest artistic influence has come from the late Joan Mitchell. When I first saw her work over 25 years ago, I was literally staggered by the power and emotion in her paintings. I remember standing there in front of a huge canvas, feeling that her imagery could transport a person to a place of such deep involvement that they would be completely swept away by the sheer emotion of it. It’s difficult to put accurately in words, but I felt that in her work I was being allowed to see the truest expression of her heart and soul. That visual experience has tremendously affected my approach to making art. In each artwork that I create, whether it is a painting, mixed media, or sculpture, I am putting it all out there, opening my heart. I am determined to let my intuition lead, willing to cede all control, to just let what is inside me flow out. My style is always in a process of incremental evolution. I’m a very tactile, visual learner, and I enjoy the experience of seeing and doing. I observe other artists, studying how they have reached successful resolutions. Over the years, I have explored Willem DeKooning’s color palette, Robert Motherwell’s spatial sense, and Cy Twombly’s use of calligraphic line and marking. These observations continue to help make me a better painter.
My paintings are fueled by the expression of things that come to me through life’s unseen experiences. Every placement of color, or covering of another color, affects and shapes the painting. I love the process of squeezing paint from the tubes, mixing them together and watching the colors evolve and complement each other. The mixing of color while the oil is still wet on the canvas, the unfolding of the imagery, represents a singular journey for me. What is in the process, what has gone into the mixing, is the very essence of how life and choices create the person. My paintings speak not only with color, but with the passion and substance of living with purpose. I also create mixed media works containing certain elements that give them the overall feeling of a drawing. Primarily, I am engaged in marking the surface, be it paper or canvas. I enjoy the simplicity of the look, but there is much time involved in creating each one. The energy and focus requires 100% involvement. Size doesn’t matter, because a smaller canvas or a piece on paper can at times be so much more challenging. Paper works can be very difficult to resolve because I have to imply space rather than actually having it to work with. Each mixed media work is a commitment to both myself and the viewer. I strive to paint freely from within myself, trusting in the proper resolution and a positive outcome.
My sculptural work is primarily focused on the use of found objects. I am fascinated with the process of gathering the detritus of our society and reordering it into forms that will ultimately have purpose and a new voice. My focus is on looking for the tired and broken, the rust and patinas of age, along with the polished and the near-new. I tend to concentrate on creating complex relationships between the various elements, combining form with line and shapes, to create a balanced work that has life and character. I like the warmth and softness of wood juxtaposed against cool hardness of metal. It doesn’t matter that they are diametric opposites – they work together because I am using each to reflect the characteristics of the other. Properly integrated, these diverse substances seem to reflect how life itself appears to me. In varying degrees, it can be cold or warm, hard or soft, but it is always real.