As an artist I work directly from life – no cameras, no photos, no Iphones. Time spent painting from the thing itself, without a filter, reveals what I need to see. My still life painting is an old tradition, deeply embedded in a practice of careful observation of things intentionally arranged and composed in the studio. Lately I’ve thought that it’s also about painting ‘with’ life – simply put, of being in tune with and knowing my environment enough to be aware of what is at my fingertips or what might be soon. It’s an awareness of impending blossom burst, of when the pumpkins have rounded out fully and it’s preparing for that heady rush in autumn when all the orchard dangles its succulent orbs all at once – and knowing that the plums must be first and the pears will keep the longest. And when there is no fruit or flower, then the things in my studio take up the slack. The ‘other’ things. The objects I have found or have found me, objects that for various reasons – shape, texture, viscosity, sheen, density – I find appealing and that ‘carry the light’.
In my studio, I work mostly under an overhead natural skylight. It is perfect except on really dark days. Composition is important, and I may spend many hours until this feels right, though sometimes no time at all. Occasionally I sketch with soft charcoal, but more often with a diluted oil wash, working on broad shapes and broad tones. I am a self-taught artist and do not have a prescribed working method. I do what feels right. Gradually, as my eyes attune, I begin to see subtle gradations of light, shifts of perspective, small moments of reality. It is a dance, sometimes awkward, sometimes sublime. Happiest when I have managed to see and paint some aspect that heightens perception of the things I paint.