When I was approaching my mid-twenties and began to paint, I found I was entering into a very familiar space that was opening me to an inherent joy and wonder that I only new in childhood play. Even though in the beginning I wasn’t too crazy about my results, the process was thoroughly engaging. I found a place of inner calm that was absent of the frenzy of the other excitements of my youth. It took a while to find my unique style of accentuating the harmony in nature.
By-and-large I am self taught, or you could say I created my own curriculum of learning how to paint. I majored in art in high school and took classes at the University of California Santa Cruz in Color Theory. I also worked for years in an award winning design studio in New Orleans where I feel I cultivated a good eye for balance and design in composition. But one of the best methods for me to learn to paint was via copying two of my favorite artists, Van Gogh and Rousseau. An unlikely pairing–– but they were self taught too! During those early exploratory years I had the exciting opportunity to spend a good amount of time in Paris. I visited the Jeu de Paume museum four times! Yes, it took more that one viewing to really see what I was looking at. While in the hallways of this incredible musee d’art I noticed there were student easel’s stacked against a wall in the hallway. My learning process was confirmed! The meticulous act of seeing and copying the masters was the oldest tried and true way to learn to paint. Oh –– that I could have sat in front of a real Van Gogh with brush in hand!
After years of being the frustrated artist who did not have the time to paint, I made the bold decision to accept an invitation to live in a hand made cottage in rural North Queensland. Finally my burning desire was able to be actualized. I probably created at least two dozen paintings during that period and sold all but five. Those five were the ones I wanted to keep and are now available as high quality archival prints. I have wondered if I will ever be able to paint the way I did during those years of being surrounded within the Australia Open Forrest. I feel these painting in particular carrying a special energy. I even tried to copy one of them, more than once, and was never able to capture the original energy. I found that to be quite a revelation actually.
For me, art is not so much but the perfection of techniques as it is the faithful adherence of stepping into ones soul strength in those moments when the brush moves onto the canvas. My aim is to continue to come more from inspiration for the sake of creation itself. Art is a practice of getting out of my own way, leaving the myriad of daily tasks behind, and giving myself over to another process that allows my hands to show my eyes what my heart sees. I hope that my paintings always convey a bit of childlike wonder for the harmony and grace of our natural environment.