PASTEL > Portrait Series

Fred Rogers said to “look for the helpers” in scary times. The helpers I am inspired by and depict embody audacious creativity and are emblems of empowerment for themselves, the wild environment, and human and non-human animals alike. The women I've drawn include a neurobiologist who paints and advocates for both non-animal testing and hugs, a pianist who founded a wolf sanctuary, comedians, journalists, activists, and others who through being fearlessly individualistic, end up making the world better. They are in it to win it and are people to pay attention to. Or don’t; awesome individuals like them have always existed, and they will prevail, as the tide of history moves in their direction. The flow of energy and positive feelings is further evoked by the assertive black-lines and bright pastel.

PAINTINGS > Storm/Structure Series

This series began as a search for shelter, for a structure that could withstand swelling darkness, tornadoes, familial deaths, and other Midwestern nightmares. I photographed the silo and houses on trips into nature while reeling from my father’s passing and the dissolution of my family home. However, in the course of creating the paintings, I realized that the built environment wasn’t the refuge, but the natural one, the landscape itself. Brewing storms and rough hills of wild grass dwarf the humble, human-built structures, but the atmosphere of electricity, with neon bolts and squiggles, is expectant, an inviting contrast to the static dwellings. The slow buildup of acrylic layers exposing the wood grain adds additional fluid movement. Sure there are threats of storms, of death, but it’s all part of the natural cycle, indeed the most exciting part.

The series is particularly interested in ideas about the landscape as metaphor for the emotional and spiritual, and was largely influenced by photographs of isolated monk dwellings in Bill Porter’s Road to Heaven; Encounters with Chinese Hermits and the work of painters such as Peter Doig and Max Ernst.