“My art evolves around land and trees -- maybe because as a child that is where I found centering protection.”
Having a strong bond with nature, as an adult I came to realize that I become overwrought when destruction is brought to the environment. Only in 1995, after many years of painting abstract Diary Pages, the land I love emerged through a gouache painting of an orchard titled Healing Life. Prior to this change of imagery, I had also been very active attending hearings about wetland filling, water pollution, and jet noise and had co-founded a collaborative local environmental newspaper.
Today, my decisions in using the imagery I select are spontaneous. Frequently it is the quality of light, air, or movement from wind that pulls me into the plein air art-making process. Doing so, I use hand-pulled linoleum printing, soft-pastel drawing, and oil painting.
Linocuts have become a way of drawing. I quickly sketch the image, cut it and step indoors to pull a proof. The first proof is always the most exciting to see as I am always intrigued at the linoleum-knife's cutting ability to express textural energy and movement in a print.
Soft-pastels take more organization and must be created on dry days with bright light. Messy, as I use my fingers to blend the pigment into the sanded paper, every several hours I must take a break to wash my hands. I sketch the basic shapes then fill in the planes of color. Generally, I only work three layers of color and marks with fixative between each layer. Recently I have realized that larger images trimmed into several smaller artworks have intimate, window-focused qualities that have a large impact. I like the longevity quality of the pastel medium with its fresh and lively retention of color.
Oils are challenging. As I kick around the house in the winter, I gesso and lay base color onto each hand stretched canvas. That assures that the undercoating is thoroughly dry before I begin painting. Painting makes me anxious. It gives me a fright wondering if I will succeed. Some paintings can take years to resolve, others only a day. I am always surprised when a painting is complete. Sometimes, just when I think I am beginning I find I am ending. At that point, all planning is tossed to the wind and I step back wondering how and why.
Recording observations and expressing feelings through hand tools and color is integral to my life. Maybe this process is about working through chaos to calm. I do know that new understanding awakens.
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