Looking for beauty in the mundane
Above all, art inspires me to find beauty in the ordinary and the mundane, and to discover the landscapes around me or that I happen upon as I travel. This search for beauty is my primary motivation, which guides my choices of subjects and inspiration, and determines my choice of medium or artistic techniques.
I have always loved drawing, paintings, and sculpture. Classic or contemporary, art museums inspire me. More than 15 years ago, watercolors introduced me to the pleasures of putting colors on paper, of mixing pigments to form liquid and expressive results, often unexpected but always a pleasure to look at. Even the watercolor box, with its wet pigments, seemed inviting. I started painting flowers, still lifes, landscapes, and the human body.
The practice of watercolor showed me that color could not conceal a flawed sketch or concept, which led me to a systematic study of classic design using charcoal, graphite, and ink. Hours of intense work and pleasure followed as I studied and gained greater understanding of lines and masses, nuances of tone and shading, perspective and composition, ways of expressing textures and movements. At the same time, my interest in drawing live models grew, resulting in innumerable hours in the art studio sketching with live models, primarily using charcoal. These hours of intense observation led me to appreciate the perfection in imperfection, and the beauty of ordinary bodies of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Then, oil paints entered my life. I’ve adored the texture, the fluidity, even the smell of it (!), and the possibility of using bright or tonal colors, the option of working fast, alla prima, or slowly, using glazing.
Three years ago, during a 10-day plein air painting workshop, the teacher, Richard McKinley, alternated days using oil paints and and others using pastels. This was a revelation. Pastel is a medium which allows the artists to paint as they draw and to draw as they paint. It lends itself to plein-air painting, while offering the opportunity to work directly with pigments, without tools or paint brushes: almost finger painting! For me, opening a box of pastels is like opening a box of candy. Degas, Monet, Millet, Manet, Cassatt worked with pastels, and numerous contemporary artists let us rediscover the beauty and versatility of the medium, which is not well-known and not frequently taught. While I continue to love and work with oil paint and watercolors, at the moment, pastel is my primary focus.
My art is centered on figurative painting, typically alla prima, with a specific focus on landscapes and still lifes. Common objects, fruits and vegetables, wine, flowers, fields and woodlands all become fixed in time, and the beauty of the subject and the colors can be highlighted. I am fascinated by the impact of shadows and light on color, especially by the classical technique of chiaroscuro. Subtle shades catch my attention, but the bright colors of nature delight me. In this sense, I see myself as more a colorist than a tonalist. I continue to study, read, take classes and workshops, and develop as an artist. Every day, art teaches me to see more clearly, a fascinating and endless process.