My process is based around that of my intuition, which means I quite often have no idea where a painting is going to end up. It’s a bit of a ride; one of which I have tried to guide but each time I do, I notice how little control I truly have. Because of this, I often don’t specifically understand what my work is about until I’ve finished it. Specific ideas at play that were once invisible, begin to carve out great meaning once the work is complete. At times, I will work on an idea and have this in the background, but when I am done — that, truly is the time that I am able to see what ideas came to fruition.
This series of work, after reflecting on them, is about family. Roots. The ground upon which our lives are built. Landscape — yes — but more personal than a mere external vista. Personal histories that create the landscape upon which we build our lives.
Two of the paintings are an homage to my paternal grandmother. An artist, cook and gardener extraordinaire. She has painted for as long as I know; keeping her oil painting process to herself as a practice of personal enjoyment. Her representational paintings adorned my childhood home — expansive landscapes with backdrops of granitic peaks. Verdant fields flanked by a rushing river. Bowls overflowing with apples and orange. Gloppy, thick applications of the oil paint that was somehow so very precise and elegant.
I recall when she gave me my first set of paints — a wooden box full of thirty some odd tubes of Utrecht pigments. They were a treasure. I didn’t want to open them; to disrupt their perfect little forms filled with pigment suspended in polymer. Her artistic approach and affinity for creating something beautiful has been an ongoing source of inspiration. She’s a wondrous gardener; her high altitude gardens teem with blossoms of every hue — her veggie garden is expansive and downright delicious.
A few years ago, she gave me several daisy plants to plant in our garden and since, they have taken off. Daisies are not just a mere flower to her; they’re her absolute favorite. There’s something about their wild and hardy nature… their simple yet elegantly petaled form… they perfectly represent her. And their sweet and simple silhouettes are on nearly everything of hers; adorning pillows and towels and everything else.
In ‘sunshine’ and ‘cinnabar’, I used daisies — petals and seeds — in their compositions. They serve as an homage to her. The third painting, ‘citrus + sapphire’, is explained in another post of mine and you’re welcome to read it.
These paintings are about our own personal landscapes and how the people in our lives form the gentle ground that nurtures, supports, inspires and holds us. The gravity that pulls us. The forces that carve out how we see this beautiful world in which we live.