The inspiration for my paintings comes from a variety of sources. Often a visual scene, like the view of the geranium or the winter field, feels like music to me. When I drove by that winter field, it felt like a Beethoven concerto to me. I just had to stop and take reference photos of it. I had to paint it. And the painting of it is a sort of communing with the sensation and the emotion of that visual piece of music. It’s not finishing the painting that is my objective, but the process of painting that allows me to synchronize with the sensation and emotion that caught my breath. And when the painting is done, it captures, for me, a moment of time that is full of that feeling.
For another painting I have in process, it was a historical precedent of Thomas Cole painting the Oxbow that triggered me. That has been painted a few times in history and at the time captured a sense of wildness of place and a reverence for the wildness. When I drove by this estuary with horseshoe patterns meandering across the marshy plain, I remembered the Oxbow paintings and what they mean to me. Then I pictured an older woman coming upon this scene and feeling the same reverence for wildness and a sense also of “This is how I want to spend my life.” I want to capture this feeling. Painting allows me to feel this and capture it while I paint. The feelings worth capturing to me are always ones that have me feeling lucky to be alive.
Another painting I have in process is of a woman hanging out sheets on a line. This image brings me a strong sense of clean, fresh, brightness as well as a feeling of simple, wholesome joy. I can taste it. I have to paint it.
I am drawn over and over to painting the figure. I would fill my life with painting people if I could, clothed, unclothed, men, women. When I am painting a figure, I am experiencing many, many layers of historical precedent. I am drawn to the challenge of painting one of the hardest subjects to capture, especially one that we think we know so well. When a person is revealed down to their skin, there is a rawness, a realness and a story to capture.
Inevitably I will have details in my work that are meaningful to me but I love suggesting a story and then watching the viewer make their own meaning from it.