I really can’t help myself sometimes with all this mystical subject matter. I am very attracted to it. I find the constellations to be a delightful combination of science and mythology. At anytime of the year, you can count on these dazzling shapes to appear just as predicted. They mark time and organize the galaxy. With our stories, they are the only things we’ve shared our humanity with.
“Aquarius” acrylic on panel, 10″ x 10″
I think, as an artist, you should always move forward in your art. If you try to compare your past with your present work too much, you run the risk of stalling progress, and ultimately killing all your creative energy. I do, however, think that it can be interesting to hold an older work of art next to something current to get an idea what path you’re on. I know it helps me articulate more effectively the direction I am going knowing where I came from.
Below are two paintings from different periods in my art career. The Top one is from 2002 and the bottom is from this year. I had a vague idea where I wanted my art to go, but in 2002, I wouldn’t have guessed it would become so abstract. It is clear now that I was on a journey for deeper, more universal truths through expression and experimentation. That’s the path I am on today.
In 2005, after moving to a different city and experiencing a death in the family, I began working in a more introspective way. Like the post-impressionists, fauvists, abstracters and expressionists before me, I became more interested in expressing than in rendering a likeness. I began a search for inner truth. I started to create my own visual language. In essence, I began a quest of self.
It might seem ironic to some, but when I was painting in a realistic manner, I was denying in many ways, my upbringing in a very traditional “bible belt” home in Wichita, Ks. I was desperately trying to publicly remove myself from, what I thought at the time, a backwards and literalist fundamentalist community. In the process, however, I also denied myself a past.
Today, I do not consider myself a fundamentalist, but I explore the stories and teachings of my youth with new wonder and hope. I believe at the essence of every spiritual path there are truths. In my new works, I express my appreciation for all things good in humanity as well as my desire for a more harmonic existence with each other and our natural environment.
The work below is entitled, “Birthday.”
In this mixed media collage work, (47 1/2″ x 35 1/2″) I wanted to combine my appreciation for motherhood, and the holy birth.
I have gone through several style changes and experimental periods in my life as an artist. Some of the changes and impulses to experiment came from the need to explore, and those shifts in attitude have brought pure joy..for the most part. There are those darker moments of change that I later realized were an avoidance strategy. Making art that I thought would get the most praise or financial gain would ultimately leave me depressed and full of self doubt.
To me, working in a way that mirrors those early fearless childhood attempts at making art, is the most productive and satisfying. Honesty in my work has always paid off. In my latest works, I have conjured, the best I can, the sparkle and magic of early life wonderment and imagination about nature. Giving myself license to play and be amazed at the miraculous gift of life.
Grazing, 20″ x 16″ acrylic and collage on canvas