Artists Statement 2022

My recent work is guided by the transformational process of forest, river and valley life. I walk the same trails every day, and this repetition enables me to perceive the subtle drama of nature in a landscape characterized by extremes.


As my sketchbooks fill with observations of light and shadow, cycles of growth and decay – symbolic patterns emerge. By allowing myself to wander aimlessly in the familiar forest, I enter a kind of receptive dream state. Reflections on the water are painterly visions of fragmented masses, space, light and time. The reflections are inverted, alternate realities. When the water stills, what lies beneath become visible. When a landing duck interrupts the surface, a new world opens. Autumn leaves gathering at the shoreline speak silent rhythms. These experiences dilate my vision, balance my tendency to intellectualize, and suggest more spontaneous colour application.


I work in oils on linen, both in the studio and ‘en plein air’ (outdoors). Working directly from nature is an immersive experience.The sensations of sight and touch accompanied by the orchestral sounds of the forest can be tranquil, exciting, and overwhelming at times.  Studio work allows me to build on the energy of outdoor sketches, slowing and deepening the process to allow the integration of ideas with experience.


The recent Caldor Fire burned both sides of Christmas Valley where we live, leaving a narrow strip of green between two ‘wings’ of charred forest. Collecting charcoal from the fire to draw with is a primal, visceral way to engage with the process of a destructive event. I combine charcoal with pastel to create impressionistic drawings with the classical structure that underpins all of my work.


Observing morning light spilling over the valley ridge, through burned trees living and dead, I feel the beginnings of a return. Spring will bring new growth. This landscape is continually evolving: Shaped by fungal networks, organisms large and small, climate, humans, time and…wildfire.


After years of studying, learning, teaching and practicing, I feel as if I’ve finally arrived at a place of joyful authenticity in my work. Each piece is meaningful to me. Noticing, bearing witness, responding: This is the artist’s life, as I experience it.

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