Introduction – The work from nature began with pen and ink drawings, and later crayon and wash studies as preparation for larger studio paintings. The wash studies evolved to finished pieces as I actually began to complete paintings on location. In 1988 I began to explore the versatility and intensity of oil paint, but moved to pastels in 1994 as a response to the more diffuse light of northern California. These more recent paintings are all painted on location with pastel, although many are completed in the studio (using photographs taken at the site), because of changing weather conditions. Examples of earlier drawings, acrylics, and oils can be seen in the Archival section.
Artist Statement – I began to work outside in the mid-sixties, finding a renewed meaning in life walking and drawing in the winter fields of Colorado. Since then I have traveled, exploring summer islands in Maine and Canada, the brilliance of fall in the Eastern Sierras, and the desert canyons of Utah and New Mexico, Closer to home, I paint the subtle changes on the coast and hills of Marin County, Califormia. These different places and seasons become metaphors for aspects of myself I need to experience more deeply. I never get enough of this vital connection with nature—a larger, more abundant reality—at once fierce and gentle, soothing and demanding.
Waking up in the 80’s to the vulnerability of the earth, I adapted my work for the peace and environmental community. The urgent concern for the earth remains, but under all and most enduring is the deep satisfaction I feel simply being in natural places. As I paint directly on location, I have come to see this as another way of healing the earth—seeing it, and loving it. The intimate connection inherent in drawing and painting allows me to witness the different aspects— the changing shapes of creeks in summer and winter, the explosions of spring, and the poignancy and privilege, day after day, of watching the last rays of sun give way to twilight.
Painting outside is as exciting and demanding as any other intimate relationship—the joy of connection, and the pain when this connection is lost. Communication involves not only being there, but finding the equivalent in drawing or painting medium for each place. In the past I have alternated between oil on canvas and acrylic and crayon on paper. In the last ten years the luminous tones and layering of soft pastels have matched the coastal light of Marin County. Finding the appropriate media, while staying true to my own vision in the midst of unexpected conditions is a continuing and vital engagement.