At times, I find it enlightening to study the progression of my work over the years. While putting together this small retrospective, I can easily see how the work led me to the present, particularly in regard to the Monochromes group. I can also see a few divergent paths as I explored the horizontal color field, the palette knife, surface quality, depth.
White Stripe, 1994, oil on canvas
This was a very early attempt at abstraction, around the time of completing Tulane University's Art Studio program. Admittedly, it appears to be a unsuccessful mingling of Impressionism and abstraction, borne of a desire to play with whites and to use the palette knife, a favorite tool. I mean, I really had no direction whatsoever, and spent several years messing around with ideas which never went very far.
Prior to White Stripe, I'd made a few attempts, with less than pleasing results. Once while staying late in the college's painting studio, fueled by chilly New Orleans weather and PJ's cafe' latte, I made a big, swirly, circus-hued painting. I stood back and thought, "Yeah, this is....uh...yeah, it's expressive". My painting professor, Ronna Harris, came in to have a look at a big sickening, colorful mess and said, "It looks like shit." Then she promptly walked away while I followed her down the hall saying something like, "Why?! What's wrong with it??" I was about to graduate with no cohesive theme, no visual statement, and I believed she was losing patience with me.
After graduation, I really, truly missed her candor and direction. This longing for someone to direct me- to say when something wasn't working visually, to offer anything, praise or a wake-up call- lasted long after college. It wasn't easy. I'd never felt so lost.
Eventually the longing fading as the years passed and I grew in confidence, finding my own sense of direction. During a visit to the Caribbean, while sailing around the islands, feeling downright spiritual in a non-religious sense, I had an epiphany. I was compelled to paint what I felt because there were no words.
Beach III, 1996, oil on canvas
I painted Beach III around the time of my first Caribbean trip. I never wanted to paint actual scenes. That would be boring. I wanted to paint how I saw.
The Baths IV, 1999, oil on canvas
The Beach Paintings began to get more abstract. Unfortunately, most of them are either prints or on a CD in Mac format, and I currently have a PC. So I can't show any others here.
New Beginning II (The Windows Series), 2003, 16 x 12", oil on canvas
I did The Windows Series while renting studio space in our island's main town, in back of a friend's shop. She had my work on the walls, and together we made some sales. The shop didn't have running water in the bathroom, so I had to bring gallons of water with me everyday in order to wash the brushes in an alleyway.
Reveal III (The Windows Series), 2004, oil on canvas, 16 X 12"
Filament, 2004, oil on canvas
Here's where the work began to evolve again. The windows, doorways and openings were abstracted into rectangles and fields of color. I really like this transition to further abstraction of form and color.
Rustic, 2005, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 x 1.5"
I was beginning to use the horizon. It's something I see everyday, right outside the studio windows. It was ever-visible during my days working on sailboats and on passages when it was the only thing out there, apart from a few clouds.
More horizon references.....
Shockwave (The Vintage Series), 2005, oil on canvas, 18 x 24"
July (The Vintage Series), 2006, oil on canvas, 24 x 18"
Red Allusion, 2007, oil on canvas, 40 x 30 x 1.5" (Clearly an ode to Mark Rothko)
I'm starting to play around with monochromes here, growing bored with the horizon, although it still appears in a few pieces, such as Spring (2007, oil on canvas, 30 x 28 x 1.5")
and below in Yellow No. 2 (2007, oil on canvas, 16 x 14 x 1.5").
And then I revisited the drip.
Denial, 2007, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 x 1.5"
In 2007, I began The Paradise Project, divided into three groups: The Shapes, The Block Paintings and The Monochromes. Since starting out, with few exceptions, color and space have been prominent elements. There has been little change from earlier content, just a tighter, stronger, more cohesive direction.
171 Yellow Cars 2 (The Monochromes), 2008, acrylic on panel, 14 x 11 x 1"
Infusions 2 (The Block Paintings), 2009, acrylic on canvas and panel, 10 x 8 x 1"
Dream Therapy (The Shape Paintings), 2008, oil on canvas, 28 x 30 x 1.5"