“Science is discovering how abstracts positively impact the brain. Synapses are strengthened when we view them. I believe that am I healing as I go, too.”
‘Kohan ni Shitagau’ is a basic principle in Japanese garden design which asks us to listen to the land to see what action to take. I love that; it seemed natural to apply that to all areas of my life.
I studied everything from garden design to Judo. I had a crazy sense of balance when I was younger and although I didn’t formally attend, became the lead sparring partner for the West Point Judo team. I found myself studying many of the principles borne of this culture that surfaced in unexpected and profound ways.
At age thirty-three, I started painting. I literally woke up from a dream and pursued the creation of what I saw in that dream. The result was a fifteen year run of 3 dimensional birchwood wall sculptures which were exhibited in over forty-five galleries nationwide. They all had windows and recreated European scenes of gathering places where life unfolded.
Another influence on me has been the cinematic arts. I love film and have been fortunate to attend many film festivals around the world. There, I get as much stimulation and inspiration from watching what unfolds on the screen as I do from the cities, towns and people. I believe this enlarges my heart…and then we get an opportunity to share and build worthy connections with others. I believe this is where we can “find” ourselves. This is what I like to explore in my work.
One of my greatest pleasures is cooking. I read a book on neuro gastronomy and realized certain pairings work because their molecular structures are similar, so I started playing with that idea. I began to combine elements such as sea salt and olive oil into my paintings. Salt, mixed with pigment and water creates crystallized patterns in paint, which become very interesting to the eye. Cooking, like painting, is a matter of blending the right combinations of things together. Good creative acts are an amalgamation of the right combination of things in relation to each other; whether it’s a great sauce or a painting, my approach is the same.
I work on birch panels, they remind me of a stage, which is where I started my first career as an actor. After prepping the front and back of a framed birch panel, I have a semi-circle of gallon paints opened at the ready.
Kitchen tools, foam, rags, boards and anything from Home Depot can make interesting painting mates, although primarily, I use a spackle knife.
Dragging, spraying, dripping, smearing and scraping are all part of the process. Varying amounts of pressure applied with my spackle knife enables me to create some control over the haphazard nature of my approach.
I lay down up to 15 layers of paint and frequently finish the piece with a resin topcoat. Alternating this application with paint, resin, paint, resin numerous times renders a startling effect in which the paint layers appear to “float” above the other layers. This causes light to be trapped between the layers, giving a wonderful sense of inner illumination.
I often incorporate heavy texture, color fields, realism, words and iridescent mica flecked paints into my work. One color, shape or tone tells me what is needed next. The process becomes mostly unconscious and as the process flies along I hold on and sometimes I lead.
The end result is a vibrant, colorful painting. I’m drawn to the genre because viewing this work allows people to express themselves in very personal and often revealing ways. It helps open us up to each other.