Jansen Art Center, June 2-July 29, 2016Opening Reception: Thursday, June 2, 6-8pm
Down on the Farm is a series of oil paintings inspired by local farms. I have often been drawn to a crooked old barn, or a rusting farm truck, but lately the animals seem to inspire me the most.
Animals have been a subject that I have painted throughout my life. As a child, I would adorn them with hats and high heels. To this day, I continue to personify my subjects. The way they cock their heads or swagger across a field, provides each creature with a unique personality. Besides my fascination with their attitudes, animals are aesthetically pleasing. Their anatomical structures are covered with rich color, pattern and texture. Animals often have big rubbery noses, very attentive ears and wonderful tails. If we take a moment out of our busy lives to appreciate the existence of animals, we may discover something about them, or even about ourselves.
The process of creating my paintings begins with an experience. My day to day life here in Bellingham is often graced with the presence of a farm animal. I often do small sketches when I see that my subject is striking a pose. However, most of my large oil paintings are created util
izing photos. I almost always have a camera with me, so if something grabs my attention, I can immediately capture it on film. In the studio, I use these photos as references. Although I often find humor in my subjects, I also have great respect for the creatures that I choose to depict. To provide them with a sense of dignity and enhance their personality, I exaggerate the perspective in the painting. The unusual viewpoints add interest to the painting, and create a sense of monumentality. I place the subject on the canvas so that it fills the entire space. The background enhances the subject and puts it in a place. Color and light of both the subject and the background can add drama or create a mood in the painting. Applying thick brush strokes of paint enhances the overall surface quality of the piece so that the painting becomes, not only about the feeling and the subject, but also about the paint.
Painting is something that I have done and loved for my entire life. Growing up in NY, I had the opportunity to frequent some of the finest museums in the world. I attended Carnegie-Mellon University from 1985-87. In 1989 I received a BFA and a teaching certificate from Long Island University. I worked as a scientific illustrator and also taught art. After teaching Middle School Art in NY for 2 years, I realized I needed to be an artist. I moved to WA and received my MFA from Central Washington University. I have worked in Bellingham ever since as a full-time artist. My subject matter and style is constantly changing and evolving. Although I am mostly thought of as a painter of large boats and buildings with a twisted perspective, animals and birds are some of my favorite subjects to paint.
Farm animals are generally raised for food and many people may look at a cow or a chicken and think of steak and eggs. I hope that through the process of painting, I can not only inspire people to appreciate the art itself, but also to take a little time to notice the aesthetic beauty, the personality and whimsy of the animals Down on the Farm.