I started my painting life as a traditional watercolorist. I had been exposed to the work of Andrew Wyeth in high school, and it was in that moment that I wanted to be a painter. I lived in Michigan at the time and his work with his stark neutral palette and the equally stark rural landscape was very familiar, especially in the winter. I managed to talk my parents into art school and while there, I was trained very traditionally in the figure and still life. I learned to draw. After graduating, I painted in a realistic manner for many years. Then, I decided it was time to go after my MFA. I had recently relocated to southern California and the Art Center in Pasadena was very similar to where I had gotten my BFA, so I started taking classes, from one professor in particular, Mary Winterfield. She had studied at the Art Students League in New York City and with Henry Hensche in Provincetown. It was her influence that sent me into the realm of abstraction where I have been since. Recently, I attended a Master Class and residency at Montreat, North Carolina, with Steve Aimone, where I learned a solid definition of the difference between abstraction and non-objective abstraction which finally gave a name to the type of art I was doing.
Non objective work is where I focus my attention. I have always struggled to find a way to describe how I painted, and usually found myself trying to make sense of my work in a way that I could label and catalog what I was attempting to do. I would search to find something in the work that I could give a descriptive name to. How impossible is that, when what you are painting isn't coming from a place of concrete real world images, however abstracted? Now I find that once done with a piece, I can write about it and get glimpses into what impulse sent me in a particular direction. Names often come out of that.
In my world, painting is communication, painting is a dance, and painting is a spiritual practice. Lofty, you might say. Letting go of the mind and putting my attention on an impulse, rather than a directed thought, goal, or a teacher’s words, is not natural to me having been raised in traditional western education methods. However, I am committed to following this path as I believe it just might lead to enlightenment, or if nothing else, a better understanding of myself. .
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