“I live my life as if the world is the way it should be, so people can see how it could be.” - Joss Whedon
As long as I can remember I’ve been reinventing the world around me by painting it as it should be and writing stories about other possibilities. I have even created my own version of furniture, clothes, books, jewelry, oil lamps and various inventions. I have delved into many artistic genres including sculpture, custom book design & binding, graphic design, costuming (for opera and Renaissance Fair), photo retouching, photo manipulation, glass blowing, and wood working to name a few. I also have an endless list of inventions I would like to develop someday when there’s time, but for now I’m concentrating on just a few of my favorite arts, and venturing into the new territory of bringing my passions into a more prominent position in my life.
I have a very analytical and scientific view of the world, but by nature I’m drawn to a spiritual expression. Art. I’ve been told I’m an odd mix of opposing views because my art gives the impression of a mystical nature, but I never forget the difference between fiction and fact, or dreams and self deception. For me there is no conflict between science and spirituality. I see science as the mind of society and spirituality as the conscience, and it seems to me they aught to balance each other. We can imagine such incredibly high ideals that it sets the mark for what we should aspire to. Isn’t that what spirituality is for? …and art is it’s expression. I think those ideals are what drives artists to show the world what it could be, or show us it’s true face. Art is not always beauty.
I love painting with oil, my grandmother gave me my first lesson at about the age of 6. I painted a red bird in a snow scene with an old oak tree, or at least that’s what I called it. I’m sure I wasn’t a prodigy. Since then I’ve had other teachers and dabbled in many other media but I keep going back to oil. Some of my paintings are done only with oil paint, but most are mixed media.
I owe my willingness (Or should I say courage?) to experiment with all mediums of art to one art teacher in particular, Ernest Guerrero. He was not only my high school art teacher but a life long mentor and friend. Early on he told me that if I had to make a hundred mistakes to get something right I shouldn’t be afraid to dive in and start knocking out that first 99. He encouraged experimentation, saying that it often leads to “Happy Accidents” in your work.
We still meet regularly to discuss our work, visit local museums, or just have a conversation with someone who speaks the same language. He has an amazing ability to capture an emotion with his work, or the character of his subject. His style is unique and once experienced can’t be mistaken for any other. Ask any of the thousands of students he’s had in his thirty one years of teaching “who their greatest influence has been,” and the answer will be the same – Guerrero taught me that art is in everything, if I just have the vision to see it, the heart to capture it, and the courage to express it.
The two most common questions any artist is asked is “How long did it take to do that?” Some times they happen quickly, sometimes they sit for months (Or years…) while I ponder the next step. But since each piece is the result of years of practice I like to give my age as an answer to that question.
The second most common question is “Where do you get your idea’s?” I have worlds in my head and since I can’t invite people in my only way of sharing those worlds and it’s inhabitants is through art. The mermaids were where I did most of my early experimenting with mixed media. There’s a little bit of everything there. For me it’s the end result that counts, seeing how close I can make an image look like the view in my minds eye. I know many artists will vehemently disagree with that. For many artists its the process of exploring an image with light, color and texture that fascinates them. They love the surprise of unexpected results. I love the surprise of unexpected results also, as long as it’s positive results, I consider a painting successful if I’ve managed to capture the original inspiration. For that reason I’ll use any means necessary to get the results I want. Watercolor, acrylic, pencil, crayons, pastel, oil paint, and digital manipulation. I’ve developed my own style over the years by finding new ways to mix materials. I love to see the textures of the materials in my work. I’m not striving for photo realism so much as the warmth of the media in the form of brush strokes, graphite texture on paper, line and color. Seeing the hand of the artist, for me, makes a work of art more alive than the perfection of a camera or computer. When I use a computer to alter or composite an image I’m careful to maintain the look and feel of the original materials. The idea’s come from where ever I find them. Mythology, both past and present. Dreams. Stories, Movies… Where ever it is those things come from is, I suppose, where my ideas come from.