photo credit: Jet Olivia
I make oil paintings, usually larger than life portraits. I use brushes and knives, sometimes fingers to build texture. They are confrontational, and yet, they let you in to the thoughts and state of mind of the subject.
I started drawing at a very young age. I drew scenes of shark attacks, whales, old cars and airplanes, underwater scenes and waves. I paint portraits because when I was young I was lonely. I try to reveal and connect with things under the surface of my subjects and myself. I hope to illuminate universal truths about people by capturing the essence of an individual. Portraiture has always fascinated and enthralled me. A portrait is lasting evidence, oil paint is timeless, organic, and visceral, rough or smooth, depending on how it is applied. I’m drawn to the works of artists throughout history who paint from the gut while demonstrating subtlety and refinement… artists who captured the personalities and emotional state of their models. Gestural and yet economical, no brushstroke wasted. No frills. I began painting portraits in high school, and more than 25 years later, it is the subject that still intrigues and challenges me as a painter.
I paint from life or from drawings projected onto canvas. I paint people I care about, and also people I want to get to know. I feel more comfortable with the brush in my hand, more like myself. I start with neutrals to build a value study, but often a bright color fights its way onto the canvas. I paint thick and loose over charcoal drawings. Sometimes areas of the underpainting and charcoal drawing remain in the finished painting.
I’m inspired by the goodness of people, and how it can come through the paint. I’m inspired by color, by light, by the beauty in a person’s eyes when they get excited or respond to something pleasing. There is nothing truer than the way light falls. I try to honor the tradition of creating a mood from color, light and shadow.
My work is a search for something of balance, something beautiful in the dark.