Discoveries in Limitation

While my recent paintings are much more minimal than I am used to, they have been some of the most difficult paintings for me to make. Many of my paintings have multitudes of layers, and mistakes can easily be hidden or painted over. The recent paintings are unforgiving; in part because of the stark white backgrounds, and that each brushstroke cannot be erased or undone. Every brushstroke is carefully considered so as to keep balance and flow within the painting as a whole. I often practice the brushstroke I want to make many, many times in the air in front of my easel before actually letting the brush touch the paper. Happy accidents often occur, and if I make a mistake, I have to incorporate it and balance the rest of the painting around it. These works on paper have been a good challenge for me in learning to limit myself down to the bare essentials, and in knowing when to stop.

Untitled (Canyon Path), Oil on paper, 30” x 22”

Untitled (Shady Canyon), Oil on paper, 22” x 30”

Untitled (Trees and Field on a Foggy Morning), Oil on paper, 30” x 22”

Painting Process

Tell us a little about yourself and what it is that you create.

I’ve always had a strong awareness and concern for the environment and the importance of protecting it. I also hold an immense sense of wonder for the natural world. These two things have created in me a deep reverence for nature and understanding of all life as sacred. I create oil paintings, watercolors, and drawings that are influenced by these beliefs. I sometimes mix gravel, sand, dirt, wax, or fibers into my oil paint to create sculptural moments in the paintings and incorporate tangible elements of the landscape.

Why do you create? What inspires your work?

My work has always been inspired by my connection to nature and to my spirituality. Painting is a way for me to process my experiences, and sometimes to hold memories close for a little longer. I paint the things I love, the things I’m moved by, the things I fear, and the things I desire. My work is about my physical and perceivable connection with our planet, and simultaneously and paradoxically, my ethereal experiences that remain intangible.

What’s your process like? Tell us a little about what you do.

I record my experiences in nature in sketchbooks, as photographs, and as collected objects which I bring back into my studio. While I am painting, I am often enmeshed in a landscape of my own creation, surrounded by branches, plants, rocks, and other objects that inspire me or help me recall the particular feelings from the time I discovered them. I work directly from or with these natural objects, sketches, and photographs to create paintings that feel as if they were gleaned from the landscape.

Absence and Presence

My work explores the experience of my physical body searching for a sense of spiritual integration with the landscape.  Through painting I investigate the paradox of absence and presence as understood through the natural processes of growth, decomposition, and regeneration in nature.  The paintings reference memento mori, a reflection on stillness and mortality.

The human figure is my starting point and inspiration.  I cover over and envelop the figure through layers of paint until it is inseparable from its landscape. Part or all of the human body becomes obscured in the process, as only glimpses remain under the accumulated layers.

I use cake decorating tools to extrude oil paint onto my canvases, and mix sand, dirt, wax, and fibers into my paint in order to think of a two dimensional material as a sculptural medium.  I arrange conglomerates of recycled paint skins to add dimensionality to the surface of my paintings. Ornate patterns and flowers are contrasted against flat blocks of color and gestural brushstrokes. The color relationships in my work are highly specific to seasonal changes in the landscape and are often influenced by weavings and textiles.