I find it intriguing but relatively unexplainable how individual artists choose such divergent pathways to expressing their creativity. In the visual arts, each person is a unique mixture of influences that are built upon what I am assuming to be an inborn tendency towards a specific way of seeing and/or a pull towards certain inspirations. I, for example, have no explanation for the fact that I have always been drawn to the textures of the natural world – the patterns in sand, in bark and wood, the intricacies of leaves and grasses and stone. They have great visual appeal for me and distill into abstractions to my eye. From the first, I have been drawn – and not from a seemingly conscious choice – to explore the natural patterns of our world.
In the beginning, I was drawn to earth colored pigments as well– the rich greens of springtime grass, the browns of soil and bark, the cool gray tones of stone and the varying blues of sky and sea. In my freshman year at the Maryland Institute College of Art, I declared my favorite artist to be Georges Braque, particularly his Cubist period paintings executed in the soft tones of the earth. I even added sand to my paints. More texture!
At MICA, I was fortunate to have taken a class in basic color with Raoul Middleman and an Advanced Color course with Reba Stewart who had herself studied with the amazing Josef Albers at Yale. These classes and subsequent experimentation have empowered my use of color, most specifically the way that color changes in relationship to its environment. On this subject – actually on painting in general, I declare “Ancora Imparo”, a statement attributed to Michelangelo and translated to “Yet I am learning”.