Shop talk, answers to your FAQs, and a peek behind the scenes of an artist-run fine art gallery in Park Slope
I have always loved drawing, painting and making things since I could wrap my hands around a crayon, but I think that my real “Aha” moment came when I was about 12. I began working on large pastel drawings of all the objects in my home. My father worked in the Time & Life building and was always bringing home large sheets of interesting paper that probably had been discarded from an advertising firm. My parents collected many objects from around the world, so there were many to choose from. I discovered that I had the ability to create a likeness in the objects I drew. This was very exciting to me along with the idea of documenting my surroundings. I loved working from life for a long time. Then, I moved into exploring a more abstract direction for a while. As my work matured, I was drawn to working from observation once again, but in a very different way. Although I have used watercolor throughout my life, I really fell in love with this medium as a young adult and it still fascinates me.
One of the things I am most drawn to is how nature and man-made structures interact. The Highline was a favorite spot where I enjoyed painting for a while specifically for this reason. There are great views of new and old architecture and a wide variety of plant life on the Highline that creates that dialogue between man-made and organic forms. I usually spend some time walking, or driving around an area before I find what I am looking for. The light plays such an important role in what I am attracted to as well as some sense of rhythm and pattern that I notice.
I frequently find that I am more attracted to old structures. I feel that older buildings and other old structures have a story that I’m interested in reflecting through my work. There is also a beauty in the way things have settled in uneven way. I love finding this and expressing that quality in my work. To accentuate this, about a decade ago I took the plunge to work without a preliminary drawing. I found that my marks were more expressive and gestural, which is something I am always striving for. I find this way of working, especially when I am working on-site, has sustained a sense of excitement for me. I do, however love to draw, especially with pen and ink on site as well, but just not in combination with painting.
Sometimes I paint with other artists and sometimes I paint alone. People frequently stop and ask questions when I am painting, especially children. I actually enjoy these interactions. I feel like they are part of the process and most of the time, people move on after a few words. What I enjoy is that it starts a dialogue about art and helps to demystify my process. This is especially interesting for me when children come by and are full of questions. When I paint outside, I have a set-up that I have pared down so that I can create an easy and lightweight studio that fits into a backpack. When I travel abroad, I bring paper that is the exact size of my suitcase. My table and my stool fit easily in my suitcase as well.
One other aspect I enjoy about painting outside is the variation of weather and light and how that affects what I am doing. It will determine how quickly paint will dry and how the paint behaves. I like having some variables that I are not completely in my control so that chance can play a part in my work.