I get a lot of questions from people wanting to know the story behind my work. I'm always happy to share that. Here is the summation of the story of Maya..not her real name. Maya represents a time of transition, which encapsulated much of what I was thinking while making this piece.
Like much of my work, this painting went through many changes. I work indirectly, so the opportunity to study each stage of my painting builds an experience that often goes far deeper than I intend. It becomes a personal journey that I hope many who see it can resonate with at whatever level, spiritually, technically, or both.
I have a particular focus in wanting to paint women and children in a powerful, yet sensitive way. The challenge being, how can I portray this without 'staging' it? I like to say as much as possible with the figure being as still as possible, relying instead on the environment, and the marks of paint, to provide the energetic flow which I truly sense at some level. Using a single figure speaks to the inner life that I pull from daily. I prefer working with one, over several.
The drama of the clouds came later. It merely reflects my observation about life, that it's often challenging, and what is the best way to manage that? For me, the answer is to remain steady, and as poised as possible no matter what comes. To think of the people and experiences that settle us, and carry us through the storms. It became a learning experience for me to notice that internal dialogue with myself, and actually put that experience out there in paint. A little scary, quite honestly. Most people roll their eyes over such talk. For a long time I was afraid of being judged as 'too heady'. I passed that. I've never been more open in my work, and frankly, there's no going back now.
The marks also play an important role. Not only are emotional elements revealing themselves, but what I notice with the paint itself will often determine my next move. This is what I call the stepping back time. Looking at the piece as an observer, and finding things to respond to in a 2 dimensional way. I didn't 'see' that environment beyond the clouds in my head. The brush strokes lead the way in creating the form it ultimately took. Intuition is key in all I make.
There will be a more comprehensive interview in the December issue of Southwest Art Magazine, in the Artists to Watch column. Look for it!