There is still so much learning I need to do. With the exception of a handful of private lessons over the past decade or so, I am completely self-taught, so my sessions are full of floundering my way through process blunders and deficits in my untrained technique, but I have found that my instincts are good ones and I eventually get past the obstacles and turn out something that works well, even for my own impossible standards.
I describe my work as images of “everyday people doing mundane things.” I don’t work from life, not as a rule, because I currently enjoy the process of re-conceiving the scene from mostly vintage, black & white photographs scouted from antique stores or from my own photos. Photography is a tool for me and works well as indispensable references for my paintings. I choose images that immediately evoke in me a feeling of introspection, contemplation, leisure, melancholy or simply a moment that otherwise inspires me. I begin scaling up my selected image using a grid method and pencil directly onto the canvas. I don’t work up complex sketches first, though I sometimes experiment with watercolor before “committing” to oil, just to give me an idea if it’s an image I feel strongly enough about. I tend to get my subject decided on and jump right in. Once a work is in progress, I just fly by the seat of my pants, trusting my gut to guide me. As long as I do this, solving problems as they come, I am always making progress.
My newest challenge is to work on “loosening up” my technique in order to convey more expressiveness. I enjoy rendering my subject realistically but without it becoming too meticulous or too photographically accurate – I’ve been doing this by using larger brushes, less precise brush strokes, exploring colors more than I have before.
I’m gearing up to begin working on sculpture in the near future.