• First Memory

    My first memory is of my toddler self, still somewhat unsteady on my feet and alone in a small dirt-floored room in the back section of our basement. I am searching for a lost treasure; it is something I have felt a strong attachment to. I think this may have been my first experience of loss and it is jarring. The room is dimly lit, the only natural light coming from a small and grubby window high in the wall. In the murky light I perceive a large dark shape against the far wall. I will learn later that it is a coal burning furnace, but it gives no heat…

  • Joan Didion

    I was recently reading Joan Didion’s book “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”. The essay entitled “On Self Respect” hit several notes with me, especially her reference to “gifts irrevocably wasted through sloth or cowardice or carelessness”. This is a self-accusation I have often made for it seems that however much I have painted and written, I had not given myself over to it in a way that the work calls for. I can see the many, many times that I had been lazy or afraid, too casual, unfocused and wasteful.  The obvious questions arise: What are you waiting for? When will you begin? Will you feel sad or cheated when you are…

  • Textures

    Ever since I first encountered the Synthetic Cubist works of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in my freshman art history class, I have been interested in the creation of texture in a painting.   “Synthetic Cubism was the second main movement within Cubism that was developed by Picasso, Braque, Juan Gris and others between 1912 and 1919. Synthetic cubism is characterized by the introduction of different textures, surfaces, collage elements, papier colle and a large variety of merged subject matter.”  – Wikipedia Excited by the possibilities, I headed for a nearby lumberyard to purchase a bag of sand to experiment with adding additional texture to my paints. At the time, I…

  • Paul Klee

    I think it is important to experience the work of other artists, not just by viewing their work but also in reading about their point of view, their references; the mind-workings, thoughts and emotions that permeate their creative process.  I find myself guilty of not doing nearly enough of that. Recently, however, in pursuit of learning more about the artist Josef Albers, I picked up a book about the Bauhaus (“The Bauhaus Group: Six Masters if Modernism” by Nicholas Fox Weber).  Albers is a particular favorite of mine as color was the focus of his work and is, along with texture, the two primary inquiries and components of my own…

  • Encaustic

    A friend of mine phoned to say that she had taken a brief “introduction to encaustic” class at a local park.  She was enthusiastically recommending that I explore this medium as it seemed a match for my interest in building texture in my paintings. I knew next to nothing about encaustic at the time, but upon investigation, decided that it would be an interesting and fun adventure to investigate the medium for myself. “Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. The liquid or paste is then applied to a surface—usually prepared wood, though canvas and other materials are often used. The simplest encaustic mixture can be made…

  • Notebooks

    The Importance of Notebooks Books on the craft of writing often suggest that aspiring writers carry a notebook so that they can jot down the ideas, thoughts and sentences that sometimes sprout full blown without warning.  I’ve had answers I was looking for arrive when I am nowhere near my keyboard. While sitting in a waiting room, driving my car, or drifting off to sleep, my mind will spit out a concise sentence or paragraph that I had been struggling to get-just-right. For the longest time, I refused to jot things down, telling myself that I would remember these revelations with clarity when next I sat down at the keyboard,…