The Northwest is my home. I love the rain, landscape, vegetation and exciting variety of clouds. There is enough inspiration here to last a lifetime. Yet my paintings arise from the far away stars, the grandeur of galaxies, and the mysteries of space-time. They not only reflect the cosmos, but my works also represent a combination of science, imagination, and personal feeling.
My painting process begins with a response to something I have read by my favorite theoretical physicists Brian Greene, Lisa Randall, and Alex Filippenko. For example, “Stardust” was inspired by Greene’s description of the behavior of gas and dust in the presence of a nascent supernova. After a process of alternately reading and sketching, I finalize the concept and composition and transfer the sketch to the board with watercolor. As I paint, I work in layers, alternating watercolor and other media, such as ink, acrylic, or sand.
As an Art History graduate student at Michigan State University, I was influenced by many painters, but in particular Pierre Bonnard and Édouard Vuillard, whose use of pattern achieved a unique and flattened effect. Today, however, my greatest influences include Katherine Chang Liu’s freedom in the use of materials, Mark Mehaffey’s sense of dynamic shape, Joseph Raffael’s puddling watercolor technique, Richard Diebenkorn’s achievement of color subtlety, and Laurence Goldsmith’s abstraction to the essence of his subject.
I have taught art my entire adult life. I believe everyone can learn to express themselves and grow in understanding of concepts, techniques and composition. It is important to me that I teach my viewing audience about painting and give them the vocabulary to talk about it. Understanding the elements and principles of design, and the techniques and goals of composition, expands viewers’ comprehension of the artist’s thinking. It enhances their experience of the visual arts. Moreover, it creates avenues of connection between artist and viewer, and among all people; we are all, by virtue of our humanity, potential artists.
My focus is the science and romance of stars with their organic connection to us on Earth. My paintings are the result of all my interactions with the stars. I continue to interact and my work continues to evolve.
My customary approach to painting is to read, observe, think and sketch. As I translate the images of my mind into physical art, I use some of the oldest and most natural elements: sand, salt and granulating watercolors.
How and when did you first become interested in art?
When I was young I had a wall of storybooks with wonderful illustrations by now-classic people such as Arthur Rackham and Gustaf Tenggren and N.C. Wyeth. I didn't know about the occupation of art until college. But, I knew from the beginning that "this" was WONDERFUL! I studied the illustrations for hours. They were fascinating in a world without TV and very few trips to the movies.
Who or what has been your greatest source of inspiration?
Inspiration is a word I try to avoid. It sounds like you cannot paint unless you have it. I "like" what motivated and intrigued you enough to paint? My answer is the Cosmos and Abstraction.
If you could own any work of art, which would it be?
Gehard Richter's "Abstract Painting" It was in the Wall Street Journal last month.
Any insider tips for aspiring artists?
Self discipline. At least 4 hours a day thinking, planning, looking, painting, analyzing art.
What prompted you to join PSG?
The quality of work of the members and the history of PSG.
Any upcoming projects you would like to share?
I'm participating for the 9th time in the 9th annual Edmonds Studio Tour. All my new works will be exhibited and for sale in my home/studio 809 FIR Street. Edmonds, WA. Saturday September 20 and Sunday September 21.