As a landscape painter, I am constantly observing nature. Whether I am walking, riding a bike or driving, I am always on the lookout for a scene that is new or different. For this reason, I carry a camera with me wherever I go so I can capture these remarkable moments when I see them. I can be inspired by the beauty of the light, the positioning of objects in a vista or just the feel and look of the atmosphere that is lending a sense of moodiness to the scene. When actually contemplating my next painting, I usually have an idea already in my mind that I may already have a photograph of, or I may need to begin compiling several photographs to create a composition around the concept I am envisioning. If I am stuck for an idea, I will spend time going through photos I have already taken to see if a particular scene will catch my eye and compel me to paint it. Because I love detail, I also look to see if the scene has some detailed area I can exploit in my painting to make it more interesting. Once an idea gels, I usually start out with a drawing of the composition which I then transfer onto paper or canvas. As a watercolorist and an oil painter, my painting approach in both mediums is very similar. I start with blocking in a loose background and then work toward areas of detail. During the early years in my painting career, my mentor, the internationally known artist and teacher Julie Gilbert Pollard, impressed upon me that abstract shapes and design set the stage for a painting. Because my love for transforming a flat image into a three dimensional one is so strong, I am always aware that I need to be cautious that I don't detail the whole composition but leave some less defined areas to set the backdrop for the more defined ones. Also, as the painting progresses through several layers, I may see a quality of light or mood emerging that wasn't in the original photo or scene. At this point, I may end up going in a new direction following what the painting is showing me. My love for the detail in nature makes me want to share that love with others. I feel that many of the nuances that occur in a landscape may be missed by some and I hope that, through the way I portray an area, I can bring attention to them. I feel a piece has succeeded when I can walk away and say that my work says what I meant to say and there is no possible way I could change it to state it any better. My goal is to send my messages in even clearer and more exciting ways in the future.
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