I’ve been engaged with art all of my life. Occasionally I come across a drawing I did when I was 8 years old. “Not bad”, I think. But I didn’t consider myself an “artist” until I was much older. I was driving on a beautiful sunny day, arranging compositions in my head, trying to describe the colors and understand the light. I realized it was how I look at the world. It’s not something I turn on and off, but instead, a way of being. And for the first time, I felt comfortable calling myself an artist.
My work changes and evolves as I do. I love the physical act of painting. First, the drawing. Trying to express what I see. Then the textures and smell of the paint, the relationships between the colors, the shapes and line. It’s all about understanding ourselves in the world. The relationships between us and things in space. How to express things that we can’t say?
My subject matter and materials vary- still life, landscape, figures, non-representational; oils, acrylics, watercolor, prints, collages. It’s always about the relationships. The yellow color of this flower against the green- brown of the foliage. The way the shapes interlock.
Generally I start with something I see that moves me. Light, color, line. I teach and have a vast library of artwork in my head that I can call upon at any time; all of my predecessors float around within me. The beginning is that intersection between my vision and all that has come before. Then I throw all of that out the window. It’s about responding to the work. The beautiful dialogue that develops between artist and the canvas. Trying to listen carefully to what it needs. I will always be influenced by Cezanne, Matisse, Diebenkorn and others, but it has to be true to me. I think that’s one of the hardest things. Finding my voice and having the courage to live it.
I tell my students that creating art isn’t just about technical skills. It’s about opening ourselves to the world. A lifetime challenge.