Tag: spontaneous painting

Providence (2019)


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:

2018 – Every Day’s a Birthday



As someone who is fascinated with cultural rituals and traditions, I spent a lot of time thinking about what turning 40 means to me. My first thoughts dwelled on the physical aspects of getting older: the receding hair line, the slower metabolism, the need to stretch ALL THE TIME. But once I made my peace with those things, I wanted to dive deeper and find out how I really felt about turning 40. To do that, I turned to art.

Since my early 20s, I’ve processed my strongest emotional reactions to the events in my life—both good and bad—through creativity. Outgrowing the religious faith of my childhood, the passing of a loved one, moving on with life after divorce and then finding love again were all sources of inspiration for a creative outburst that resulted in teaching myself how to play guitar and banjo, writing six albums of original folk songs, and connecting with people across the globe through that music.

For the past six years, painting has been my creative outlet. So, as I started thinking more about turning 40, I decided to focus the emotions that were stirred by those thoughts into a series of eight abstract paintings. With titles like Past Your Prime, So Many Sunsets, and Legacy, it’s easy to see where my mind was as I painted each piece. But while the titles suggest a looming mid-life crisis, the truth is just the opposite. Confronting those emotions and channeling them into colorful pictures made me realize how satisfied I am with my life up to this point; that even the toughest experiences have directly influenced some of the most gratifying.

One of the paintings is titled Every Day’s a Birthday, and it’s the name I’ve given to the series, which was on display during the summer of 2018 at Love Garden Sounds in Lawrence, KS. For me, the phrase serves as a reminder that every day is an opportunity to be the start of something new; that no matter how many years the calendar might say I have, I’m only as old as I want to be.


Temporary Vehicle


Confused by a Moment of Clarity


Every Day’s a Birthday


Let the Light Back In




So Many Sunsets


Past Your Prime




Tempest (2017)


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.