ßefore I begin a painting, I already have an idea in my head about the subject matter. That idea is often inspired by photos taken on one of my adventures, but it is always my intention to use photos only as an initial idea. Since color is my primary passion, I will select a color palette based loosely on the subject but more on what colors I am in love with that day.
I begin with a loose sketch of my subject using a dark hard pastel. Then I block in dark and light shapes with hard pastels, usually in a color complementary to my final color scheme, and usually with a very bright color for the lights. At this point, I will wash over the entire underpainting with denatured alcohol which creates the lovely drips, splashes and patterns that I will incorporate into the finished painting. For my abstract oil paintings, I begin with a very loose wash of acrylic paint to cover the canvas.
For pastels, the emotion of the painting begins with the application of soft pastel colors. This is where I let my awareness of the beauty of brilliant color shine. With every stroke of the pastel stick, I find delight in the tiny flecks of pure color that remain on the surface of the paper. For my oil paintings, the process is the completely intuitive application of paint with a brush or more often, paint mixed with cold wax applied with a palette knife, or line work using oil sticks.
When I think the painting is complete, I leave it on the easel until the next day, when I will undoubtedly see adjustments or additions that need to be made. I will study the piece and ask myself a series of questions about design and composition. Does the work convey the intention I had in mind? Does it convey the emotion I felt when I imagined the idea? Are there any areas that need “something”? Depending upon my response to these questions, I will then make further adjustments or declare it complete and sign it.
My goal is that my work expresses my quest to consciously understand my spiritual self to participate in creating a personal and collective reality for the world around me.