- “What does it mean?”
- “I see a monkey in the right corner.”
- “What were you thinking when you painted this?”
I have answered these questions posed to me in this way:
- “Art is in the eye of the beholder.”
- “Yes, there certainly could be a monkey there.”
- “I was calm and listening to Van Morrison.”
While certain pieces start out in one specific direction that I have in mind, many of them don’t. Color almost always dictates what I paint. Some paintings mean* something, while others are truly abstract, leaving the audience to determine their meaning, if there is one. Some of the painting titles are clue as to what the painting is about*, but others are chosen playfully, giving the audience a hint about what I might have been thinking of when I painted the pieces – but beware of red herrings.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I love art, I adore messing with different color combinations and shapes and trying out new media (spray paint and pastels are a current favorite). I believe in Rule 62: Don’t take yourself too seriously.
This is not to say that my paintings don’t necessarily mean* anything, because they do. But most of my works have flexible meanings and leave room for the audience to create their own picture within their imagination.
I also believe that everyone should try creation at least a few times in their life, whether it’s through putting paint on a canvas, drawing, recording their voice distorted by a reverb petal, or taking an opera class. “I can’t draw to save my life” is one thing I hear often. (And I think most everyone would actually attempt to draw if it meant saving them from death.) Just try it, I say to them. It takes some a massive amount of courage to create anything because they grow up with micromanaging parents, are afraid of sharing a personal part of themselves with others, etc. There’s always an excuse not to create.
That’s why I love and am currently participating in #the100dayproject. The only rule is this: You have to create something every day and post about it. Some of my creations for this challenge have been paintings, while others have been entries in a stream-of-consciousness journal I started recently. Some are scribbles with my Prismacolor pencils, done while I was otherwise occupied (meetings are a good place to draw, I find). One time I painted a papier-mâché dinosaur – one half red, the other half teal. It feels good that there is only one rule, it’s fun to share this stuff with the world – and I love viewing what others participating in the project have created.
I’m rambling now, mostly for the simple reason that I find it difficult to communicate in words (not pictures, and I am primarily a visual person) about my art. I fear sounding either pretentious or overly self-deprecating. This page is mainly here in case someone wants to know why I paint.
That said, I love to communicate with my audience and welcome feedback, whether it's positive or “constructive.” I don’t get offended if I overhear someone talking negatively about my work because I believe there’s only one rule for the audience: You either like it or you don’t.
But I’ll end on this note and include a couple of lists about my work below. Lists are easy and comforting for me. I’m the type of person who gets serious joy after crossing something I’ve done off a list.
So enjoy my artwork, or don’t enjoy it. You either like it or you don’t!
Creations include: abstract paintings and drawings; spray-painted objects, using Mason jars, vases, and pieces of wood; glass objects; cards; and paintings involving thread, yarn, and other similar materials
Materials include: acrylic, gouache, watercolor, and spray paint; pencils; cotton balls; rose petals; window screen; coral; leaves; cosmetics, including lipstick, eyeliner, and eye shadow; pills; fireplace ashes; charcoal; yarn; and thread.
Influences include: Andrew Wyeth; Jesus Rafael Soto; Josiah McElheny; Franz Kline; Francis Bacon; Howard Hodgkin; Dale Chihuly; Stephen Gammell, known best for his illustrations for the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark children’s series by Alvin Schwartz; Japanese minimalist artists; and street and magazine advertising, mainly because of the colors often used to attract viewers’ attention.
*Using these words makes me cringe a little, but I don’t quite know how else I can explain in text format.