Sometimes my painting is an exploration of what is marvelous and particular, especially in forms inspired by nature—flowers, trees, patterns of river or rain or seed. Sometime it is an exploration of what is vast and sublime. Usually it creates visual language for the tension between both. My work is always informed and shifted by seasons and light. For me color, texture, and space offer a way to connect with the peak experiences I can’t actually live inside day to day—the sunrise in Death Valley, the river through that canyon in Texas, certain moments of falling in love—those times of burningly alive or radiantly connected that feed my soul the raw thing that allows it to survive capitalism and the destruction of our planet. I think that is often what people experience when my work touches them—some elemental feeling of what it is to be alive and longing and resisting the machine. Beauty is necessary for this survival. I work mostly in abstraction, and am not painting how experiences look but how they feel, how they emerge as I listen to music and allow my mind to free associate through color, pattern, and form. I’m synesthetic, and music is essential to my process— it fills me with colors and textures that help guide my work, which is mainly improvised. I am also a poet, and scrawls of handwritten text often make their way into my work, though I tend to write in a way that is intentionally not legible, so the writing becomes a mark and a residue of a practice rather than a story the viewer gets pulled into and uses to interpret the piece.
I create primarily in ink and pastel on wood and paper. I am enchanted with the richness and possibility of transparency in ink and watercolor, the particulars of accident and orchestrated chaos that become possible when you paint wet into wet or wet into dry, when you drop ink from heights or apply it with a fine brush. There is also a finality and precision to working with water-based media; you cannot erase, particularly with dark pigments. You must think ahead and you must commit to your marks. It becomes a process that requires a lot of faith and risk, on a certain level. You do not have the mercy of opacity to cover up your mistakes or change history as is possible with oils and acrylics. Because transparent media are such an unforgiving medium, I occasionally introduce pastels in the later stages of a painting when I want more flexibility to revise. Developing these techniques has been an intricate process of trial and error, and learning which ones work with the raw wood that forms the ground for most of my current pieces has added another layer of complexity. People often tell me they’ve never seen work quite like mine, and I think the unique interplay of my media is one of the primary reasons. That, and heart.