Taking my inspiration from the natural world, I paint what compels me to look more closely and deeply. Here I discover patterns and abstractions, movement and mood. Whether in the studio or “en plein air,” pastels and oils are my media of choice because of their rich, vibrant colors and blended tonalities. I proceed differently in pastels from how I paint with oils. Pastels are made of pigment suspended in chalk, so the challenge is always to find truly dark colors. I use soft pastels on a variety of papers, preferring sanded paper with a distinctive “tooth” or roughness. Whether applied directly to a sanded surface or layered over a watercolor underpainting, the early stages consist of mapping in the darkest darks, moving next to mid-tones, and finishing with the highlights.
In the case of oils, I am attracted to the creamy textures and the vast range of values that permit stark contrasts and the play of light over surfaces. The same dark-to-light method of application is used here. Both oils and pastels, though, are flexible enough to allow for correction.
Ultimately painting with pastels or oils helps me convey what I see as the essence of objects or scenes, and with it a sense of tranquility…or of mystery…or of longing.
My work was most recently juried into the Wall-to-Wall Salon show at the Hardy Gallery and the 38th annual juried exhibit at the Gerhard Miller Art Museum, both of these in Door County, Wisconsin. Over the past several years I have earned distinctions in shows sponsored by the League of Milwaukee Artists, the Cedarburg Artists’ Guild, and Wisconsin Pastel Artists. For the past several years I have studied with James Hempel, a highly respected Milwaukee, WI artist. I enjoy doing commissions for pet portraits, landscapes, and other kinds of subject matter chosen by the buyer.
When I was five years old, my parents bought me a drawing table, where I spent years of my childhood perfecting the glossy coats of running horses, the texture of fur and feathers, the wonderful grace of trees. Throughout my school years and beyond, it was assumed that I would become an artist, or at least work in an art-related field, but aside from my college electives and a Ph.D. minor in art history, I never had formal training of a consistent nature. Evening workshop courses offered at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design satisfied my creative impulses for much of the 80s and 90s. Occasionally I would do a charcoal drawing or a watercolor sketch for a family member, and colleagues at work would tease me about the startling caricatures I would do of people around the table at (sometimes boring) meetings.
I feel so fortunate that I have been able to make art my full-time occupation and preoccupation. In short, I love what I am doing more than I ever imagined I would. For me making art is a means of seeing in new ways, of testing new boundaries, and of discovering a kinship with other artists. In some respects it feels like I was headed in this direction all along. If it is a journey with familiar landmarks, it is also one with delightful twists, turns, and fresh perspectives.
- Oils 100%
- Pastels 100%