What excites me most about painting is color, movement and meaning. I achieve balance and harmony through composition and gestural lines against organic forms.
The circle, a symbol of life and continuity, is a motif to which I am often drawn because of its metaphoric meanings. The overlapping of multi-generational histories and cultures are expressed in my many layers of paint. This is a story to which I feel an affinity.
I begin with a planned composition and palette, but as the painting progresses it speaks to my intuition. I add or subtract elements building on rhythm and balance. It is this duet of control and intuition within each canvas that I aspire to create a symphony.
For as long as I can remember I have loved making marks, first with crayons and pencils, later watercolors, oils and acrylics. I vividly recall wondering why I could not reproduce the vibrant, rich colors of our Church’s stained glass windows, no matter how hard I pressed on my crayons! A few years later when I discovered oils I finally encountered those rich, deep colors with depth. What an exciting revelation! The answer was in the materials and the mastering of them. My path was set...I wanted to pursue art!
I grew up in Virginia, in a large family that valued education that led to professions in the fields of education, law or medicine. Art was fine for a hobby but not something to waste an education on. To pursue art I would need to do it on my own and pursue it I did. My first formal training was at Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. In 1968 I moved across the country to study at the San Francisco Academy of Art, and I’ve been a Californian ever since.
Plein air landscapes and seascapes were my passion for many years, all done in a traditional realistic style. Once back in my studio I would re-create the same painting on a larger canvas. The grander scale always made me feel my most expressive. Eventually my love of color dominated my style and, in the manner of the Fauvists, my skies were yellow or red, my trees became blue. I fell in love with rich, bold colors all over again!
About ten years ago I evolved toward less representation in my art, eventually choosing to step off the safe shore of realism and embrace the unknown world of abstract art. It was a tentative move at first, as I knew I might lose some followers who collected my traditional paintings. However, I was soon hooked by the excitement of coming up with a concept and painting it! Painting the essence of a subject and my feelings about it.
I paint with brushes, palette knives, rags, combs, mops, and trowels....whatever is needed. I now use only acrylic and mix it with water, alcohol, medium, gesso, or sand.... whatever is needed. I burnish, I sand, I paint over the paint as I create...whatever is needed.
My traditional art background serves me well when I plan the composition making the shapes and lines lead the eye through the painting. All I have learned in art over the years has fed into the exhilaration I feel today when creating my large abstracts. I arrive at my studio with a sense of anticipation in seeing where I will go with the painting that day. My paintings speak to the layering of time and the stories of generations. The new knowledge we have since discovering DNA fascinates me. The layering of one generation’s history over another’s, family struggles and successes, the blending of cultures and traditions, new histories growing from the old, my paintings speak to this.