Why do I paint animals?
I live at the edge of the woods where a rambunctious carnival of birds and beasts root, romp and rest just outside my studio door.
The shenanigans I see animals do never cease to amaze me.
They are chock full of live-in-the-moment goodness. They make me laugh. And cry. They touch my soul and teach me something new every day – if I stop, watch and listen.
Acrylic paint is my medium. Wax is my “secret ingredient”.
Earthy colors are layered. Wax is sandwiched in between. Paint is scraped to remove the wax and expose the color underneath. Excavation of layers produces unpredictable marks, shapes, patterns and primitive, rock like textures.
Something wonderful happens in this beginning stage of the process. An idea is born! It may start with a suggestion of an ear or the texture of fur or patterns resembling the scales of fish. The challenge is to bring that idea to life and create story by balancing color, texture, pattern and form.
Stylized animal forms are created by making paper templates.
Body parts – snoot, tail, paws, wings, etc. are cut from paper. No drawing allowed!
The goal is to find gestures that create action and reflect personality – gumption! I’m always looking for gumption – the heart and soul of an animal.
Color choices are influenced by the heathery light of my Northwestern surroundings or manmade articles such as embroidered textiles, old camp blankets, ancient Grecian pottery or medieval tapestries. This quirky mix is the result of a lifelong love of textiles, a degree in fashion design and my mother who was an antique dealer.
Creativity is ever evolving. My artistic journey is no different. Luscious, luminous fluid acrylics have wandered into the mix of this wild thing called “my process”. The transparent, jewel- toned paints have given my work more vibrancy and depth of color. Graphic re-imaginings of local flora and fauna are joining deconstructed geometric patterns. I refer to the end results as “Happy Tapestries”.
Finding the title to a painting is like finding gold and one of my favorite parts of the job. I strive to create a hint at the story was going on in my mind when creating the piece but also leave plenty of room for viewers to use their imagination and create their own stories.
Frames are built by my husband, a woodworker. Six layers of paint are applied using the same “paint and scrape” technique. A satiny patina of hand rubbed paste wax creates a durable finish to each piece.