My work is inspired by those things in life that speak to me in a visual sense, whether they be environmental or people around me who compel a response.
This is often imagery one might see in your every day life; transformed by color and light into something beautiful. I want content to initiate a narrative in a vague way, allowing the viewer to experience the work on a personal level.
While my work is representational, my challenge is to translate what I am actually seeing. I interpret reality through an organized array of shapes, colors, and marks that rely on my drawing skills to be construed as recognizable.
Technical skills partner equally with content in my approach to painting. I work in both watercolor and encaustic. I respect the unique properties, possibilities and boundaries of each medium and do my best to celebrate them. While these two mediums may seem as opposing as water and wax, they oddly share common characteristics. Most notably, they both encompass fluidity and transparency. While watercolor is a taxing medium, encaustic becomes a formidable adversary with the incorporation of fire.
My most successful works come about when I set ego aside and honor the potential of my materials. This is when I become a conduit between materials and art.
While most viewers are familiar with watercolor painting, encaustic work is far less known. Encaustic is a Greek word for “burning in”. All of my encaustic works are painted with pigmented beeswax on birch panels. This medium must be applied in a fluid state. I work with two palettes; an electric pancake griddle holds a muffin tin that in turn holds my pigments, and a large hotplate/griddle for mixing color. Patience is crucial as I can only apply a few brush strokes of molten paint before the wax begins to cool. Then I must return my brush to the palette until the wax is once again fluid. My paintings are comprised of multiple layers, fusing each layer with a torch before continuing on to the next. This technique produces a mesmerizing element of depth. The finished pieces have a glossy appearance that is sometimes mistaken for glass or glazed ceramic. In my mind, no other medium can compare to the brilliance of encaustic pigments.
As a career watercolor painter, it came as a shock to be seduced by the encaustic muse later in life. My approach to watercolor has significantly informed my strategy towards painting in wax. Perhaps those decades of watercolor painting were an apprenticeship to a more profound level of expression.
I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. My mother and maternal grandfather were both artists and visual awareness has always been a part of my life. When I was nine, my mother began including me in her painting and drawing classes. This evolved into attending workshops where we were introduced to many outstanding artists. Our tradition continued well into my adulthood, and eventually we forged our own painting adventures. Throughout my life my mom was my most devoted supporter.
My single ambition has always been to be the best painter I could possibly be, and this has never waivered. I was accepted to the California College of the Arts in 1969, graduating in 1974 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in drawing.
I am a signature member of the American Watercolor Society, the National Watercolor Society, the Watercolor USA Honor Society, and a member of the International Encaustic Artists organization.