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.