My studio space is almost as important to my work as my canvas, paint and brush. I have to be comfortable in order to concentrate, but the room has to recede from my consciousness so that I am “in the moment” that I am painting. After being in three different studio spaces since I moved to Rappahannock County, in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, in 2005 I am really happy to finally be “home” in my new studio in Little Washington.
What do I mean by “in the moment”? I primarily paint landscapes (including city- and town-scapes), and I choose to paint those things that have stopped my eye, caused me to pause and really look. On canvas, I try to hold onto what first caught my eye. What specifically was it that stopped me? What is it that took me back to a moment ago, or made me think back to yesterday/last week? That is what I am drawn to communicate when I paint.
I work “en plein air” (on location) as much as possible. This gives me so much more than the opportunity to paint. It offers me the chance to observe the changing light, the movement of shadows over a shape. This helps me to understand more clearly how colors, edges, and details are visually pushed away, or brought nearer. Returning to the studio with these partially finished paintings, I try to maintain the essence of my presence in that place and “ownership” of that moment. I want my paintings to say: “I saw this, and it spoke to me, and I wanted to share my experience with you!”
Although I obviously care to a degree about painterly things like composition, weight and texture of paint, brushstroke, and the like, the reason I paint is to share, and by sharing my experiences I share a part of who I am. I can’t always articulate when I begin a painting what it is that I need to communicate, but in finishing a painting, I learn something about myself. Certain colors, shapes, themes resonate and excite me. Those are the things that I am drawn to paint. With time I hope that has become more clear, and strong. I find that I continue to return to certain themes, but with a growing desire to say more, with less; as my marks of paint are refined and made with greater confidence: to show atmosphere, light and form.
I feel so fortunate to be able to spend my life listening to the wind through the trees, and to share as much of that through my paintings as possible. Every painting is a challenge to complete. Creating something that feels new, unique, and with evidence of a personal experience has been and will be my challenge.
If you’d like to know more about my background, my resume is here. And if you are in or near Little Washington, please come by my studio. I love to talk about what’s on my easel at the moment!