My theater background taught me to deeply examine a character internally to discover her needs and wants and then show and tell it externally with distinct body language, expressions, gestures, and rhythms. I now draw on this approach when painting women.
I want these paintings of women to reflect a full life story, each one different and distinct. Some are down, some are up, some are upset, some are over it, and some have passed on. While painting, their stories swirl in my head. I think about how each woman's life unfolded. I listen to her voice and improvise what she would say and how she would say it. I imagine how she moves and wonder what hurts and what makes her smile. With some oil paints and a small wood panel or a larger piece of oil paper, I create a life snapshot to tell her story.
Improvisational theater showcases spontaneity and fearless exploration; but, like jazz, improvisational theater actually has an essential structure underlying the performance of “something wonderful right away.” This structure gives spontaneous explorations coherence and allows artistic choices to gain clarity by building upon each other. My background in improvisational theater speaks to how I paint abstracts: big, bold, figurative abstracts; cartoonish and flirty drawings that become paintings with masses of color and unafraid brush work; figurative beginnings improvised to abstraction.
I paint because it’s fun. It’s a process of answering questions and improvising solutions, acknowledging the original figure by observing the lines and shapes and then playing with the motion and rhythm and how the shapes fit together and push and pull on each other, all the time wrestling with how to address the drama and the calm. When people look at my paintings, I want them to follow the lines, colors and shapes and be curious as they discover figurative and non-objective elements and surprises. I want them to enjoy the expressive lines, notice the movement and texture of the brush strokes, and be thrilled with the colors. I want them to be entertained and see spontaneity through a new lens.