I find half of my inspiration for my work when I’m flying 40,000 feet up in the air. The other half I find when I’m planting in my garden, strolling through the Botanical Building at Balboa Park or sketching in the cactus garden across the street from my house in San Diego. The concepts of place and home fascinate me — how we live in the neighborhoods that we choose, and how we connect to the natural settings that surround us.
I seek out bold patterns, energizing colors and surprising shapes. Through mixed media collage paintings that juxtapose the expanse of a bird’s eye view with the detail of an extreme close-up, I ask the viewer to engage in my own fantastical landscapes, and find familiarity within my imagined reality. I’m drawn to artwork that consumes the entire canvas, and crowds my entire field of vision. And I’m inspired by other artists who invite viewers to get lost in their paintings — and embark on a journey with their eyes and whole body — like New Zealand contemporary landscape painter Colin McCahon, and abstract expressionist, Helen Frankenthaler.
My large-scale paintings begin with a photograph that I snap from the window seat of an airplane. Sometimes I know what location it is, sometimes I don’t — the frequent mystery is half the fun. Once I’ve scaled the photograph to size, I plaster it on a wood panel. This becomes my “map.” Using acrylic paint, saturated satellite imagery and old maps, I’ll begin to add bright and vibrant, yet earthy and naturalistic colors to bring the aerial landscape to life. This scene, however dynamic, serves in part as a backdrop for the leaves, trees, plants native to that particular region, that I lay over the forefront of the panel, alternatingly pushing and pulling focus for the viewer. When we view the world from above, it’s easy to forget the small details that give a placid landscape life; likewise, when we fixate on what’s small enough to hold in the palm of our hand, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. I strive to give visual voice to both.
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