The Still Life continues to be my focus, my joy, and my challenge, allowing me to express my observations and ideas in compositions I create. Some of my paintings are inspired by objects that delight or intrigue me with their character (“The Artisans”) or beauty (“Harmony”) or whimsy (“Backstage”); some express ideas such as fleeting time (“Passages”), immeasurable love (“Love Letter”), or hedonistic pleasure (“Midnight Supper”); some are inspired by my travels (“Kathmandu”); and some pay homage (“Regarding Rothko”). By spotlighting the subjects “on stage,” my intent is to entice the viewer into a narrative, which I nudge with carefully chosen titles.
When I find a particularly inviting subject or concept I return to it again and again, working in series. A few years ago I fulfilled a goal of spending an entire week at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Each day, from morning until closing, I leisurely studied the paintings, sculptures, and antiquities and luxuriated in the pleasure of simply being there. This resulted in an on-going series of Still Life paintings, “A Week at the Met.”
Regarding my usual process, COMPOSING is playful as I select and arrange items from various sources – my many boxes of thrift-store finds, colorful fruits from farmers markets, treasured items from my travels, or any happened-upon objects that catch my eye. I frequently stack items precariously for added drama, and often arrange them to suggest human relationships. I arrange and rearrange until my idea feels realized and the rhythm feels right. Then it’s time to pick up the paintbrush.
Always working in oil on canvas or linen, I start PAINTING by loosely sketching the composition in umber, then establishing lights and darks and form using umber and white (grisaille technique), and finally transitioning to color with increasing attention to detail at each step. I prefer painting from observation rather than from photographs. By relying on my eye rather than a photo, I can readily refine placements and proportions as needed to suit the overall composition. Listening to music or stories while painting keeps me “in the zone” by occupying my mind so my eyes and hands are free to do their work.
For more about my process see photos in the STUDIO section of ABOUT THE ARTIST and an interview by Christine Cariati in her Venetian Red blog.
Note: Although I concentrate on the Still Life in my current work, from time to time I return to painting Interiors. In the PORTFOLIO section of this site you can see both STILL LIFE and INTERIORS as well as an ARCHIVE with a few examples of older work (1990-2000).