Artist’s Statement

My paintings are an attempt to bring the reality I see into this world. My greatest influences are Marc Chagall, William Blake and Paul Gauguin, along with medieval and renaissance art in symbolism and design, especially the Celtic images.

My work also is driven by my love of animals – so much so that I have created my own, usually a combination of the human animal and those who fly, swim and move around in fur or scales.

I‘ve always been fond of the Doors quote “There are things that are known and things that are unknown. In between there are the Doors.” It’s that juncture I’m drawn to: the mundane where it verges on the mystic, the intersection among people, plants and animals, the reality that exists just behind what we regard as reality. I love a touch of humor in my art and I enjoy it most when people look at something I painted and smile or laugh.

I’m often asked where I get my ideas and how I paint. I wish I could answer the first one. I come from a line of painters and I studied design, technique and color with good teachers, but images just come – it’s going to be a person perched on a high turtle shell. I start to block it in and a few other things become clear in terms of idea, not color. I draw it all in very thin yellow wash. Once it’s there, I work on something else – printing from a block, matting a watercolor – and then I come back and I see what’s right and what’s wrong and I change it and start to lay in color. Since I paint in thin washes, the colors build and change. I seldom work for more than 45 minutes at a time on one painting, and I usually have two or even three going at once. Often these are other ones in a series.

How do I paint? I turn on music – anything from Bach to U2 – and start. A thought comes in – it’s going to be a person perched on a high turtle shell. I start to block it in and a few other things become clear in terms of idea, not color. I draw it all in very thin yellow. Once it’s there, I work on something else – printing from a block, matting a watercolor – and then I come back and I see what’s right and what’s wrong and I change it and start to lay in color. Since I paint in thin washes, the colors build and change. I seldom work for more than 45 minutes at a time on one painting, and I usually have two or even three going at once. Often these are other ones in a series.

Since the formation of any idea on canvas or wood is the death of all the other possible ideas that came to mind, quite often I’ll get two or three down at one time and work from one piece to another.

I’d like to heal people, including myself, from fear, which I regard as the most destructive force in the universe, and the direct opposite of love.