Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.
- Mary Oliver
I am drawn to abstract painting because it is the most challenging, holds the most mystery for me, and in the end, the most magic. My paintings are not "about" something, or "art objects" per se, as much as they are an opportunity to perhaps set in motion the imagination and trigger an emotional response. In the simplest of terms, the work is a celebration of pure color and texture.
I believe that through focused intensive engagement while making a painting, it is possible to imbibe it somehow with a residue of spirit, an intangible essence that gives the work a sense of presence. This can be felt by a sensitive viewer and moves the work toward the realm of art, as opposed to decoration or craft. It's a prospect worth pursuing with each and every painting.
My process is one of applying paint liberally, carving and digging back into it, and building up layers. Through this process of application and excavation I would say that I “find” a painting as much as “make” it. The whole time I am utterly engaged and letting my intuition be the primary driving force, although I am also using my training and experience to make hundreds and hundreds of decisions along the way as well. Openness and freedom are the key.
I often collage in elements of the physical landscape directly into the paintings from places I’ve lived and which have meaning for me: leaves from Vermont maples and California eucalyptus trees, sand from Carmel and Cape Cod, meadow grasses from behind my New England studio and straw from the golden summer hills of California. While not necessarily a visual element, I believe the material infuses the work with the added presence of the natural world.
I know the work is done when I stand back and it hits me all at once as being resolved visually and having a strong sense of presence about it. In the end, I hope the work conveys something that is not so much experienced with the mind, as felt with the body.... in an intimate, visceral, and contemplative way.