Last year I was feeling rather stuck in my work. I was fighting with the materials and unhappy with both my process and the paintings that I was creating. I think this is a common experience among artists. I discovered California based artist and teacher Nancy Hillis, and sampled several online courses she offers. She brings her experience as a psychologist and her intellectual curiosity to her painting and teaching. Last November Nancy opened a year long intensive online workshop she called Studio Journey. Each month consisted of a theme with deep background information, painting demos, suggested studio exercises, and an online forum to get and contribute feedback as the participants worked through the exercises. It turned into an extraordinary community of artists whose work both inspired and motivated me. Seeing how other artists responded to the monthly challenges was fascinating. When I got stuck in my own work, I could tackle some of the course exercises such as exploring rhythm, working with constraints, or working with a two secondary palette, and this helped me see my own work in a fresh way. The work in this show was completed while I was on this journey. Some of the paintings more directly reflect particular lessons or exercises from the course, but they all reflect a growing confidence in my own voice and expression. My painting process remains basically the same, but I am more willing to take risks, learn from my errors, and experiment.
My intention is to create images that are beautiful or compelling without reference to real objects. I create layered images of opaque and transparent acrylic paints, and may use crayons, charcoal, brushes, rollers, brayers, fingers and stencils to develop the layers The process is similar to jazz improvisation: each move is a response to the color, line, rhythm, texture, and shapes of the previous layer.