Category: 2 – Responsive Paintings

These pieces are specific responses to music, philosophical ideas, or formative experiences that resonate with me. Though sparked by a specific inspiration, the process of responding spontaneously to that inspiration through painting helps me unpack and further understand why that song, idea, or experience is meaningful to me. Sometimes, a painting will begin without specific inspiration but will develop into a responsive exercise where I allow the painting to guide my actions rather than my ego or expectations.

Providence (2019)

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Oil on canvas
30 x 40 inches

This piece is a prime example of the unpredictability in spontaneous painting. My usual process in a “geode” painting is to mix the paint directly on the canvas and eventually begin blending the colors to produce the band-like effects. With this piece, however, once I finished the initial mixing stage, I realized this is what the painting wanted to be – it didn’t want me to go any further. Even thought I’d just begun, I listened to the painting and stepped away. This piece reminded me that sometimes, the most important actions are the ones you don’t take.

On display in our home:
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Latin Steps (2018)

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Acrylic on salvaged kitchen cabinet door
29 x 21-1/2 inches

This is an older painting that I covered with a thin layer of gesso so that the lines of the former painting were still somewhat visible. I then followed the patterns created by the half-visible lines to build the composition of triangle shapes. The motion of the composition brought to mind a latin dancer.

Tempest (2017)

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Acrylic, gesso and oil pastel on canvas
24 x 30 inches

While most of my spontaneous pieces come together very quickly, some of them develop over an extended period of time. This piece started as an abstract oil pastel that didn’t quite work for me, so I started covering it with gesso. More commonly used to prep canvas as a base, I enjoy using gesso as an alternative to art-quality white paint because of its texture and the way it interacts with other media. As I started noticing the texture of the gesso and the lines of the underlying oil pastel, I tapped into and emphasized the natural movement of the piece created by the layered media. The end result is a piece that brought to my mind the ferocious beauty of a storm at sea.