For me, painting is a magical process. People ask me how I come up with the ideas that I paint. There's no specific answer to that question. It's difficult to explain why I ended up where I did on canvas. The best answer I have is that my paintings are a spontaneous communication between the rich soil of my subconscious, and the experience of living in the everyday world.
My paintings capture moments in time. I love the idea of condensing a story into one single image, or portrait. Life doesn’t stop, but moments in time shape us. Every moment. My subjects do not know that they are art. They may not know they are being looked at. Sometimes my paintings look directly at you, waiting for a response.
It’s a demanding thing for a painting to hold you in it’s own time. I’ve watched people get uncomfortable looking at my work. I’ve seen people recoil, and refuse to come closer. This interests me a great deal. It is, after all, just a painting. But a painting that induces such a response is, in my mind, a painting that’s done its job. It has had an impact. The people that do come closer, who are magnetically drawn in, are fascinating to watch. There’s an exquisite kind of silent bubble that happens when a person meets a painting that speaks to them. I see their faces open, and relax into a state of curiosity. They have become receptive, open to something unfamiliar. It’s a gift to see it. This vulnerability is at the very heart of what I paint. It is the driving force of why I do what I do.
I've always had an urge to create. Growing up it wasn’t really ever about something to do, it was a need to modify my world. If a thing didn't exist, I had to make it. It didn't matter what it was made of, I used whatever was around me. I've heard it described as a 'divine restlessness.' It is this demanding restlessness that brings me back to the empty canvas with nothing but a shred of a feeling in my gut to go on. I start something, and something else entirely comes out.
I had no intention of becoming an 'artist'. Even today the word seems odd to me. I was told being a full time artist wasn’t practical. No one was allowed to survive (certainly not thrive) by being an artist. It was out of the question. I was told I had to have something more ‘real’, something I didn’t enjoy to support something I did. I tried that. I wasted time doing it. I was miserable. Beyond miserable. I became suicidal. Then one day, in some moment of grace, I realized I had to paint. It was the sort of knowing that is rare, undeniable, and absolutely impossible to ignore. I was 30 years old. I told my family and loved ones that I was going to be an artist full time. Most said that it was about time. My mother didn’t say a word. She was silent for a minute. Then she said ‘ok’. That was it. From that moment forward, she never breathed another word of negativity. And so it began.