The art of photography is and always will be a deep-rooted, life-blood passion of mine and an outlet for my creative expression. As an artist, I wish to explore and channel my creativity through more than one medium. The magical realm of abstract intuitive painting has called to me, enchanted me, and drawn me in. Prior to discovering my love for photography, I embraced the world of visual art through charcoal, paint, abstract brushstrokes, and canvas. I find myself returning to these painterly roots, while simultaneously continuing to explore photography.
I am currently studying to become a Reiki master in conjunction with finding my way back to painting, and I don’t believe that is a mere coincidence, as the style and preferential painting techniques that are emerging as I lay paint to canvas are very much related and linked to my studies of Reiki healing, the seven chakras, and the concept of chi, which is the life force energy that can be found in all living things. I recognize that my painting practice is a manifestation of the spiritual, mystical, and healing-arts facets of my spirit.
My abstract applications of acrylic paint, ink, and water are gestural and fluid in nature, evocative, and meditative in quality. The chakra paintings explore the properties of chi through color, substance, and movement, and are composed of vivid, flaring, life-giving colors that bewilder the eye. I'll either combine colors represented by the seven chakras of the body, or layer hues of a single chakra color. Lush, luminant color flows on the canvas in radiant violet, cobalt, glowing ochre, emerald greens, fiery reds and oranges, and icy indigo. The Gaia paintings are more lyrical in nature with palettes of earthy, muted tones.
The paintings are improvisational and free-form in quality. My style is characterized by vigorous applications of rich pigment combined with a significant volume of water, and expressive and loose brushwork and mark-making. This technique translates into interesting results infused with mood, feeling, and high vibration. Energetic brushstrokes quickly disappear in the highly watery paint. Impressions are made, but washed away quickly, like a footprint in the sand next to the ocean. What remains is always a surprise.
1. The Third Eye (magenta hues)
2. 7 Chakras
3. Love and Truth
My studio is located in an old mill on one of the largest rivers in Maine. The three windows in my creative space all overlook this deep, mystical, shadowy, and glistening river. This body of water is a constant grande source of inspiration for my paintings and informs my creative process. Water fascinates me. It embodies a feminine energy, has magnetic properties, and is a natural substance used for healing, cleansing, and purification. It nourishes and sustains and is associated with passion, emotion, feeling, and lucid dreaming. I am in awe of water’s fluidity and power. Its movement has a definite path, albeit an often unexpected one. It can be controlled to a degree; manipulated and molded into a desired shape and form.
The high volume use of water in my paintings creates a river-like effect where colors teleport through the liquid. The water’s movement allows for beauty in the form of swirls, drips, pathways, and ice-cracked lines. It can be a challenge when it comes to retaining clarity and a sense of purpose in shape, mark, and color, as any deliberate painterly gestures and strokes can get swallowed up by the water’s natural whirling, twisting, and warping nature. The eye seeks order, which is not to be found in my paintings. There is often no real solidity or obvious vantage point, and your eye will be invited to wander, meandering on pathways in a meditative fashion, without ever arriving at an endpoint destination.
My approach involves an alchemy of pigment and water applied to the canvas; an integration of a minimum amount of control and manipulation on my part melded with a greater amount of activity that is governed by the properties of water and its reactions with matter and other environmental factors like the breeze blowing in through the windows, the temperature and humidity levels in the old mill, even the vibrations created by moving human beings in the space. All of this adds up to a high level of unpredictability.
As I apply premixed concoctions of pigment and water to the canvas, I manipulate them with tools and movements of the canvas. I may choose to purposefully dehydrate portions of the surface, or allow the colors to dry naturally. As a work dries, I patiently observe it for long stretches of time; practicing mindfulness, being fully present, meditating on what is happening. Nothing else exists except the canvas and the pigment and the water. I make conscious choices as the piece dries; like adding further pigment, water, and manipulations, or choosing a hands-off approach, allowing the applied liquid mediums to evolve on their own. At some point I must walk away from my art and allow it to evolve on its own. Each canvas takes an average of two full days to dry. A mystical aspect of this watery process is that I will leave my studio with the wet painting looking one way and return to it only to discover that it has completely transformed during the drying stage. The excitement that builds inside of me while I wait is most delicious.
Discovering this bold approach to making paintings has allowed for a creative process that is open, free, intuitive, and meditative; and one that requires a great deal of patience and trust. It invites me to listen to my artistic intuition and follow an internal voice that knows. There are no mistakes with this approach, and the more I dive into this process, the more wild and interesting my work becomes. The process of creating each painting is a unique experience which in turn yields a unique result. The final result is the culmination of a dance between my intuitive manipulations, my gut choices to back off, and the environmental powers that be.
My painting process, like my photographic artwork, is not separate from my living and waking life and my growth as a human being, in this body, on this earth. I’ve discovered how to use the power of painting to help uncover essential truths that resonate with my being. The process raises questions for me about reality, illusion, free will, destiny, power and control, luck and chance, pathways and journeys, alchemy, beauty, wonder, joy, miracles, attention, intention, intuition, and trust. This newly discovered approach to painting (which of course is not an entirely new concept by any means) reduces my need for control of the creative process. It allows me to let go of the outcome and invites me to enjoy painting for the sake of painting itself; celebrating the natural unfolding of the work, embracing the surprise inherent in this organic approach, allowing the creative journey to take me where it will; which is always to a place that involves my higher self and its connection to the Universe. Part of what makes the work complete is your viewing of it. And I would like to stress that there is no definitive way that I wish for you to experience my paintings; the only right way is your way.