I was in a high school art class years ago with the teacher who had taught my brother who's 9 years my senior. He talked about how he could have gotten my brother into the Pratt Institute or one of the other top art schools in N.Y. and he prattled on about how talented he was...but no...he wanted to be an engineer. I still remember that day, somewhat dumbfounded at the time because I loved painting and I was in class eager to learn but being ignored! Encouragement comes in different ways for artists and it's never a straight path. For me it started with a pottery teacher in the same high school, later in college with a realistic painter who was teaching an abstract painting class I was required to take at Fashion Institute of Technology, and then to a wonderful mentor and teacher Harold Stevenson. Oh yes, and a mom who found Harold Stevenson talking with friends and presently with my husband who hikes wherever I want to with my easel and a book in tow.
When I think of explaining to you what draws me to paint a certain scene, it's a location that stops me on the spot to linger at, it's that beautiful. It's a scene that causes me to pull over on the side of the road thinking, “I have to paint that!” It’s the reason I would head down to the Obed River in Tennessee in the Fall and attempt to paint a stunning back-lit maple tree against an old rusted foot bridge while my tireless husband batted gnats away from my face with a newspaper! It’s why I will get up very early before dawn and stand out in a frigid Smoky morning to catch the light illuminating the hills beautifully as the sun rises! It isn’t just color or just lighting but how they interact with each other. I hope you to look at my paintings and say, “I can smell the autumn in the air in that picture”; “I can hear the water falling over those rocks”; “I’ve been to that spot and I feel I’m transported back”; or maybe “I’ve always dreamed of visiting that spot and now I feel I’m there in this painting!”
Oil paint is the medium I enjoy the most and I start all works on location. There is no replacement for painting “en plein air” to capture the lighting and color that will reproduce the atmosphere at that location, at that moment in time. Light changes quickly I have to work fast to capture as much information as I can before the scene changes too dramatically. This live study allows me to return to my studio to complete the painting with sufficient time to make decisions on which details enhance the picture and those that are distractions. I am focused on making the painting beautiful not an exact replica as in photographic realism. A painting that reminds us of all the beautiful spots there are, even in a time of much growth and development over our beautiful country.