I am aware every moment of the passage of time, how it manifests in the landscape, what it means to us individually and universally.
I have always lived in the West—I grew up in Nevada, and have lived in California, Utah, Oregon, California, and Colorado, now calling Wyoming my home. I am moved by the landscape everywhere I travel, but in the West, there is a physical, visual, and spiritual serendipity that has impacted how and why I make art.
I am compelled to interpret the emotion that this landscape evokes in me. What I see around me every day is rare and hopefully preserved. It is an antidote to the uncertain times we find ourselves living in. It was Thoreau who said, “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” Wild things, unpolluted sky and clear waters are a North Star to inspire our human decisions.
I make art in order to reflect moments in the landscape that move me—the way the light is hitting the willows, the ice sparkling on the trees when it is 3 degrees outside, the first bright green buds bursting from the aspen in the spring, the particular colors in a particular sky. In the studio I take these moments and think about the metaphors they evoke. Often other artists are my muse: Shakespeare, the Beatles, Cy Twombly, Jennifer Bartlett, Mozart and Billy Collins are frequent companions in my studio. I am aware every moment of the passage of time, how it manifests in the landscape, what it means to us individually and universally.
The process of encaustic painting involves hot pigment suspended in beeswax, fire and patience. I paint with a torch as well as a brush. The smell of melting beeswax pervades the studio, and is delicious. The painting process involves layering as many as 30 or 40 thin layers, often scraping back through them to find a color that has been laid down earlier in the process. I was a weaver for many years, and this fiber sensibility is apparent in the textures produced. It is not unusual for burned paper and shellac as well as objects such as pins, nails, or watch parts to become part of the painting.
I cannot explain exactly how I get to a particular resolution in the work. I believe every experience I have ever had—growing up at the base of the Sierras in high desert, living in urban and rural places, reading, seeing, raising a family, and being tossed around by the news of the day finds its way into the work. In the end the work is always about trying to catch something precious as time speeds by for all of us.