Thoughts about my art

In my studio.

Thoughts about my art

I look for the heart of nature in my art. I am a painter, an amateur naturalist and a wanderer. I am happiest anywhere outdoors. Listening to the buzzing wings of my garden hummingbirds, breathing in the pure scent of a grove of giant sequoias, or watching, breathlessly, heart pounding as a loping wolf passes in front of me, disappearing as quickly as it appeared back into the shadowy forest, these are the experiences that fuel my passion for the natural world and shape my art.

Drawn to historical mediums, techniques and substrates; I interprete them with a contemporary viewpoint. Dry brush watercolor on calfskin vellum and egg tempera on panel create luminous, detailed portraits. More recently I have discovered casein, another water-based medium that is very versatile, allowing for more expressive brush strokes while still embracing detail. Silverpoint is my preferred drawing medium.

As a trained graphic designer, I start a painting with small quick thumbnail sketches exploring the shape of the picture plane and a very basic, preliminary value study. The most successful graphic designs distill a composition to just the essential elements for its message. I apply the same principle to my work, eliminating anything that is superfluous to its story. My influences are the great artist/naturalists of the past, Audubon & Louis Agassiz Fuertes and living master bird artists Lars Jonsson & Ray Harris Ching. They are all consummate observers of nature whose work captures the essence of their subject with the least amount of information.

I want my viewers first to share in my experiences, creating a deeper understanding of our own essential connections to nature, to our own stories. My future goals for my art are to inspire others to help stem the accelerating loss of habitat and species; to preserve, protect and conserve. At a recent exhibition of my work a patron approached me to say how much she loved my paintings. She was struggling to find the words to describe how they made her feel. She finally looked me in the eye and said one word “transcendent.” With a smile, I said, ‘Thank you.”