My paintings begin with a collection of thoughts. I try to get them on paper before they disappear. They take the form of quick subconscious drawings or written words. The drawings are in my journals that I carry with me everywhere. The written thoughts are all over my house and studio… on legal pads, in my calendar, but especially on bright green index cards. These cards are in my purse, taped on the wall behind my computer, in the drawer, in the car, tacked to my studio wall, in my make-up dresser, on the end table next to my chair. They are everywhere…along with grocery lists, to do lists, books to read, resolutions, passwords, and recipes. I cannot help but see them as I go about my everyday living. Sometimes I gather them. Sometimes they inspire me to take up the camera to photograph places or things. Mostly they haunt me until something clicks. These thoughts become images and then part of the greater image which will become my painting. I recreate that visual image on canvas. The combinations which become the composition are satisfying…sometimes disturbing or even humorous. But they seem right.
In the olden days, I would gather objects and arrange them to photograph together. Arranging them in different ways, in different light…and photographing them at different angles and distances. Then I had them printed...If I was pleased with one, I’d have it enlarged.
Then I began photographing objects and places….having prints made and cutting out specific parts and arranging these cutouts on mat board….if I needed something larger…it was back to the printers to have the picture reduced or enlarged and then back to the cutting board. When the composition gelled, I glued it all down.
Computers and Photoshop changed that. So now my possibilities are endless. I still use my bright green index cards…I still draw in my journals…and I still take a lot of pictures. But now all those images are downloaded or scanned into my computer so that my composition takes place in Photoshop.
My recent paintings are a combination of two telling parts of me, my need to move around outside and my need to be distracted when I must sit quietly inside. I am an outdoors kind of person. I like to hike in the woods…I like to plant thing in the earth. I walk or run four miles along the water every day…I like the exercise but also the feeling of warm…or cold …or really hot. I like the wind and the humidity and I like seeing what is in and around the water… manatees, stingrays, mullet, one time a rattlesnake… pelicans, crows, parakeets, ibis…as well as things dropped, like keys, baby shoes, or pirate beads.
When I am inside, I like to have pen and paper with me at all times, just in case. I always listen and wait and think better when I am putting pen to paper…often subconsciously…I draw innocuous, sometimes realistic…sometimes cartoonish, sometimes silly, sometimes pointed little drawings in my journals which I now scan into my computer. My newest paintings are created by juxtaposing these journal drawings with a combination of cutout shapes and pieces of flora and fauna imagery. I like this combination of real and realistic with whimsical and fun and fantasy.
When my composition has been determined; when the images have been arranged and erased and reduced and enlarged and pushed back and forth and eliminated and added etc., in the computer, until I am satisfied, then that is my mock up. I then transfer it to canvas by first drawing it with as much detail as I can, onto a stretched and gessoed canvas. I use a combination of gridding, drawing from actual blown up details of the photo, and tracing. The next step is the underpainting. I actually paint the entire canvas, but I am just really trying to define the detail more and get the basic colors down and also get a good surface covering of paint. I am also figuring things out… then I paint the whole thing again. This final painting is when I change the colors and values and edges and refine the surface texture. This is when I really make the painting. I do this with tiny sable brushes and work on small areas. If I have it figured out and have defined the imagery during the drawing and underpainting stages then I don’t have to think so much. The final painting becomes mostly intuitive…so much so that I can listen to books for hours at a time. I really enjoy this part.
My paintings deal with images that tell my story. Sometimes it is a story I immediately understand and sometimes it is revealed over time. When I paint, I treat each image as a small abstraction and then as part of a unified narrative intention. I can look at my painting as a visual landscape with a flat surface that I can look over, or as an environment that I can move around in. The composition and presentation of the images show my connection visually and emotionally to my personal world. The images I choose carry personal cues that work together to create a visual whole.
My paintings deal with the organization of interrelating patterns and spatial planes that develop one behind another, emphasizing the play between “real” and “unreal.” I want my paintings to read like good books… novels with several layers of plot… at times blunt and easily understood and at others, tenuous and slightly disturbing. I interweave the images like the plots and subplots in novels so that the layers of image, symbolism, spatial planes, color and pattern work together to create tension and harmony…with a little humor.