Still life painting became a challenge to make the static active, by means of cast shadows and patterns on objects. Landscape painting gave me the opportunity to examine the patterns that occur in nature. Left to my own devices, I explored optical sensations in monochromatic patterns and later in more complex color arrangements. By the time I completed undergraduate training, I could create space in my paintings and use color to that end. It took a few more years for me to realize that what was lacking in my painting was the materialization of the human spirit. Coming to Pratt was an opportunity to embark on intensive study for the realization of my goal: to find myself.
All imagery found in art as well as all human creation is derived from the natural, visible world. In art, it is not always used to recreate the world as in realist painting and sculpture. It is digested and worked into other forms at the discretion of the artist, designer or technician. Piet Mondrian, for example, used geometric forms to depict the essence of the natural world - the horizontal and the vertical. He saw these essences as guides to a future, utopian world.
I see my role as a painter not as a guide but an observer; less of a participator who seeks to influence change than one who takes in and presents what I see. I seek connections between what is natural and what is man-made. My use of geometry is the humanization of the natural world. Mondrian chose the essential elements; I choose to explore the complexity of the same world.
The prevalent mood of art making seems to regard technical proficiency and permanence of materials used to be unimportant issues; that the resultant work is all that matters. For me, quality and permanence are the first order for successful painting. For my earliest paintings, I used the very stable method of applying acrylic polymer-based pigments on primed cotton duck. As my color sensitivity increased, the acrylic paints became too limited in their depth of tone to be satisfactory for the effects I desired. Their polymer binder prohibits a great concentration of pigments without the loss of flexibility and permanence when dry. The hard-edged, flat nature of colored areas that I apply made oil paint an impractical alternative because of its slow drying time and glossy nature. But, it has the rich undertone that I sought. I finally turned to gouache by experiencing it in color-theory study during my last year of college.
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