When I paint, I often fall into what I call, ‘the zone.” Some people might alternately term this experience as falling into “the process” or falling into “meditation or prayer”. Whatever the terminology, it’s a moment (sometimes lasting hours) when I become so involved with applying paint to canvas to bring forth an image or composition, that I forget about how long I have been painting, where I am, or even that I have a self. I’m just the paintbrush, the paint, the eyes that see color in a landscape that might or might not be the color that is actually there. I’m the accidental compliment of colors that pop an image out, or the combining of colors that creates an unexpected new one. I’m the memory of standing on that beach in cold dark sand, and noticing a long, thin strip of turquoise light peaking between ocean and fog.
What I hope for someone who views my art, is that they can also fall into a “zone” of their own. I hope the color or composition or subject brings them a moment of excitement or pleasure or peace. I hope my images might trigger an emotional memory, or, “I know that place, I was there,” or, “I don’t know that place, but I feel like I’m there.” I hope they are transported, even for a second, to someplace that touches something inside of them.
My introduction to art began as a child, studying my grandfather and mother’s paintings displayed throughout our house. In the years since, I’ve carried these images with me, though I didn’t begin to paint until after careers in Landscape Architecture, and Graphic Design.
Brightly hued California landscapes are a favorite subject of mine, reminiscent of my grandfather’s early California plein air paintings, but also a reflection of my connection to the natural world. I sometimes paint outside, enjoying the Sonoma-Marin countryside, as well as many places in the western states. But I mostly paint in my studio, from the photos I take during my hikes and road trips.
My mother’s artwork also influences my painting. I share her desire to paint everyday objects, people and animals but mostly landscapes that spark my emotional or aesthetic interest. Like her, I prefer a loose, expressionist painterly style, my brush stroke visable, gestural.
Unlike my mother or grandfather, I sometimes wander into abstraction, at least with color, influenced by contemporary and abstract painting studies I pursued at UC Berkeley years ago, and Santa Rosa Junior college more recently. Also, perspective is often a strong element in my compositions, reflecting years of drafting and renderings necessary in architecture and graphics.
I constantly experiment and learn as I paint. Though I know my approach is determined by the influences of my past, each new painting I start seems to emerge, as if on its own. I am often left surprised at what appears on my canvas.