People often ask how long I have been painting. And I tell them I have been an artist since my earliest recollection. As a child I learned under the experienced hand of Southampton artist, Jane Doescher, from her studio on South Main St. But mother was my biggest source of encouragement. I think we're all intuitively born artists, creators.
For me, paint is the way music comes out my horn. It’s an expression of joy and love and gratitude. It’s what I do when I’m happy. And I paint nearly every day; eight, ten, twelve hours a day. Painting is more like play than work. I lose all track of time while I’m painting in my studio.
But this past year, during a pandemic, was the most transformative period in my art career yet!
For sure, it was a gift of time whether we recognized it or not. It helped me focus on what’s important and what is not. God, family, friends, health and yes, the sense of purpose that I derive from painting and a sense of connectedness to every person and all of nature.
This transformation occurred on long walks during Covid. I paid a lot of attention to nature, particularly when the shoots and bulbs began to emerge as they always do in late winter to early spring. Those shoots and bulbs, signs of hope, and the tenderest and most fragile origins of life, push up from their dark underworld through the rock solid frozen earth. They bloom and become exactly what they are intended to become in all their beauty and splendor; nothing more, nothing less. They don't fight or resist their Creator. They have no fear, anger, jealousy, self loathing, or self consciousness.
It occurred to me that the same life giving spirit and energy that “draws” the shoots and bulbs to itself is drawing you and me too. We just have to get out of our own way.
So, I went back to the studio and began to paint with abandon. I lost the fear of failure and self-consciousness.
I experimented with new and old materials I had in the studio, but in a new way. It was very exciting. I fell back in love with spray paints, pastels, mixed media and collage work. I began to hand-cut my own stencils and apply layers upon layers in abstract paintings. And so much more…
The one constant through all my years of painting however, is my bold use of color. That’s the heart of my music. It’s actually hard for me to tone it down. One gallery owner once described my work as having a “joie de vivre” (meaning an exultation of spirit).
That’s exactly what I want viewers to experience!
A lightheartedness. Joy. Happiness. Hope. A sense of peace and that all is well with the world, exactly as God intended it to be.
Yes, it’s been a very good year. My heart is full of gratitude.