“Seeing a thing can sometimes trigger the mind to make another thing.”
– Jasper Johns
My paintings are inspired by the Western landscape and the metaphors it provides if we are paying attention. The cadence of the seasons marking the passing of time, transformation, death, and renewal are seminal themes driving the work.
Every painting begins with a vision or lesson I take from the land. Here in the West the land is not something I see “out there”, but rather something I experience, and am a part of.
While my process begins with a photograph or sketch from the landscape, it is never my intention to render only what I see. It is the idea of landscape, and its relevance to our time, that I explore by incorporating vision, language, experience, memory and time. Just as time erodes our memories, this process obscures concrete images and buries much of the original imagery beneath the surface of the painting.
After years of weaving tapestries, a move to Wyoming precipitated a major shift in medium to paint, specifically encaustic wax. Hot, pigment-infused wax is layered onto the surface, each layer being fused to the next. It is not unusual for a painting to have 30, 40 or more layers. The malleability of the medium allows me to scrape back into under-layers to rediscover a color or idea that deserves or demands to be brought again to the surface.
This way of painting allows for texture, relief and incised line. Often language plays a role—a poem or song provides inspiration, words form patterns, ideas are written into the work, only to be covered up by ensuing layers. Objects also find their way into the work.
Each painting is a journey. By letting go of preconceived ideas of what the finished painting will be, I engage in a conversation, a dialogue (and sometimes a battle) with the work. The process allows me to study and comment upon our diverse Western landscape, and its relevance to our times.