Statement

 



I began painting in 2010. My guides in exploring this medium have been, in chronological order, the portrait artist Jason Miklik, the surrealist painter Eleanor Spiess-Ferris, and master of indirect painting, Helen Oh. My “apprentice” painting focused on the human figure. My current work focuses on landscape and still life paintings.


Until recently, my preferred method of painting has been alla prima, in which the surface is directly painted, that is, painted in one or two sessions while the paint is still wet. (Alla prima comes from the Italian for “at once.”) In 2016 I began exploring the techniques and methods of the Old Masters, in which a painting is completed indirectly, that is, built up in layers: first an imprimatura or ground layer that establishes values and composition; then a “dead color” layer, a basic depiction of forms using earth pigments; followed by a layer that incorporates more detail and pigments with more chroma; and finally, a glazing layer, i.e., a thin oily layer of transparent paint. I have developed my indirect painting techniques by copying Old Master paintings (e.g., Vermeer’s “Study of a Young Girl” and Flegel’s “Dessert Still Life”). Whether painting directly or indirectly, my preferred method of working is to paint from life, not from photographs.

In keeping with this preference, I have recently begun exploring plein air work, paintings either entirely or largely completed in a single three- or four-hour session outdoors. As in alla prima painting, there is an element of risk in plein air painting that I enjoy. Will everything come together—the draftsmanship of the painting, the required concentration, the magic of creating a three-dimensional image on a two-dimensional surface? The moment of finishing a plein air or other “direct” painting is thrilling, for that’s when I step back and reflect on what it is I saw.