About my Art

"You begin with the possibilities of the material." -Robert Rauschenberg

 My style of art falls under the general category of Mixed Media Abstract Landscapes. Painting mixed media means that I am free to use any combination of materials, rather than being limited to just one kind of paint. My arsenal includes not only the materials, but also a wide and evolving range of tools and abstract techniques: background sections are established with layers of drip painting; spray paint is applied with a hope and a prayer; liquid asphalt gets drizzled on with varying degrees of precision; natural elements such as salt, sand, or marble dust are scattered onto the wet surface of the work in progress; oil paint can be used as a finishing layer. Gravity, heat, and time all contribute to the overall effect. It sounds like a random process, but it really is not. I strive to bring the perfect balance of colour and texture to each piece, and deploy my materials and tools accordingly.

By using abstract techniques, I can allow the materials to take on a starring role. I've invested a lifetime researching the characteristics of various paint media, how they can (or can't) be combined, and which techniques they best respond to... in what order. My job, as I now see it, is to help the paint and other media do what they do well, rather than what I had decided I wanted them to do. I enjoy the unexpected detours along the way. I love seeing my work change as it goes through different physical stages from wet, to dry, to fully cured. It's exciting to discover which colours and textures emerge, where cracks develop, and so on. 

It's an ongoing process and a struggle! I love the element of surprise, yet of course I use what I have learned in one painting to influence the next. It's a constant push/pull between controlling and letting go, between deliberately bringing out certain details and simplifying down to the bare minimum.

My paintings are usually - but not always - inspired by photographs which I have shot, at home or abroad. Canada continues to provide the greatest inspiration. I've been lucky enough to travel from Coast to Coast, and I hope one day to experience the third, Northern, Coast. My goal for each painting is to create a visual world which communicates the feeling of a time and place. The final product is not intended to be a realistic representation of a scene. Even so, sometimes my drips, swipes, and scribbles come together in a way that is surprisingly representational.

I am so grateful for all the artists who have come before us, and for those who continue to create and share their work in the present. Life influences art, but art also influences life. The moment you see a work of art that touches you, your world view is forever changed. So many artists have fundamentally affected how I see and feel. I have to give special mention to Robert Rauschenberg: this mid-century American artist created, and lived, with a special kind of fearlessness that I can only hope to emulate. 

Artistic Biography

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once one grows up. -Pablo Picasso

Each of us lives many lives in one lifetime. I count myself very lucky because my love of art has followed me from childhood into my adult lives.

I grew up doing art... drawing, painting, woodworking, ceramics, calligraphy, any kind of art. Yet it never occurred to me, as a young person, that I could become a professional artist. Back in university I drifted academically, unsure of my direction. Then I signed up for Art History 101 and was hooked. Some people were perplexed by my "impractical" choice, but the universe had a plan for me. A few years after completing my BA, I went on to do my BEd and became a high school teacher, specializing in Visual Arts. As a result, I spent most of my career teaching teenagers about accessing their creativity, about different art materials, tools, and techniques - and yes, about Art History too. What a great gig. Along the way, I had the privilege to work with many talented local artists, to attend courses and workshops, and to learn new techniques. Professional development went hand in hand with personal artistic development.

In my current (post-teaching) life, I'm able to devote all of my time and energy to developing my artistic style. I've combined several of my favourite materials and techniques: painting, pushing the limits of mixed media, and photography. Who knows where this particular life will lead?