In 2002, I took a month-long artist’s retreat deep in the woods of British Columbia, living in a tent on a mountainside with no electricity or running water. I intended to focus on photography, which had been a passion of mine for at least a decade, but when my camera broke on the first day there I purchased some paints and started painting in earnest.
Initially, I worked exclusively with a palette knife and acrylics on found wood and now primarily paint with oil, as well as enjoy experimenting with the sculptural qualities of encaustic/mixed media pieces.
I think a lot about color and composition when I work, although much of the process is intuitive and often serendipitous. I often begin a painting by moving colors around until an image reveals itself, having no idea at the outset what the final image might be. Other times, my work is a bit more calculated, and I have an idea of where I’d like to end up, although I frequently arrive at a different destination. And I find that exciting.
As was the case with photography, painting reminds me to take time to absorb the natural world, and my hope is that my work somehow reflects bits of beauty I have taken in. In particular, I am fascinated with how visually pleasing nature’s randomness can be; the way an erratic row of trees is capriciously arranged, how chance groupings of flowers pepper a field, the incidental patterns created by swaths of color in a landscape, the seemingly arbitrary twists and turns branches choose to make – configurations that present themselves with confidence; as if there could be no other way. And when I am fortunate enough to be painting outdoors in their midst, I am able to borrow from that hand. The challenge comes when I am creating work in the confines of my studio with no guide to the “the beauty of randomness” except my own imaginings…and chance…
Oh…and when I am not painting, I am a high school math teacher.