One of my favorite childhood memories is waking up the morning after my mother’s night school painting class and running to see what she had created while I slept. The appearance of colorful images and shapes on a canvas which had previously been plain white struck me as magical and mysterious. Today, the creative process remains just as magical and mysterious to me.
As a shy, introverted teen, I embraced painting as a form of self-expression that didn’t require me to talk to people! These days, I’m more interested in avoiding my own mental conversations while painting. As I stand before a blank canvas, I take the time to quiet my mind, release my expectations, and open my heart to infinite possibilities. I pick up a brush and quickly cover the canvas with broad strokes and washes of muted colors. I know that nothing is permanent at this stage. I continually add and remove colors, lines, and shapes while creating visually interesting layers. As i paint, I enter the ever-changing stream of experience while simultaneously striving to express the fluidity of experience.
When painting landscapes, I sometimes use photos or pieces of photos for inspiration. Other times, memories of natural settings or imagined scenes are my starting point. I’m drawn to “messy” landscapes – tangled branches, underbrush, overlapping hills, shifting light – that mirror life’s intertwined challenges and beauty. I don’t try to render a scene in a realistic way. Instead, I allow the energy and mood of the scene to mix with my own emotions and experiences. A loose, painterly style and expressive brushwork help me express nature’s vibrancy and “aliveness.”
I like to alternate painting landscapes and intimate flower portraits. When the outside world feels too big and overwhelming, it’s comforting to narrow my focus and paint a more intimate subject. Even as I attempt to take refuge in the beauty of a single flower, I am reminded to release preconceived ideas and surrender to the moment. I am compelled to look beyond the “pretty flower” and paint the changing stream of sensations, feeling and thoughts the flower evokes.
My focus shifts again when painting abstracts. I come fully into the present moment and allow the changing stream of experience to move through me. This is when I see most clearly how everything is constantly in flux, and I choose shapes, lines, and colors to express the truth of this awareness.
I hope my paintings remind you that this entire universe is made up of changing, moving energies and that you are part of that dance.