Inspired by the portraiture tradition, but working in the still life genre, I use objects or belongings, rather than figures, to explore the human experience. I call these paintings "portraits in absentia". They are memories of lives (real or imagined) — of relationships, of spirits, of paths chosen or found.
I believe that an object — a pair of shoes, a dress, a shirt, retains something of the essence of the person who wore them. The things with which we adorn ourselves contain the shapes of our lives.
I relish pondering the "character" of my subjects. If I am painting a portrait of a couple — using their jeans as my subjects — I spend think first of the couples' characteristics — are they playful, intellectual, wild, mysterious, powerful, brilliant, sexy? Then I try to breathe that essence into the arrangement of their personal objects — a compositional shape can evoke somberness or sensuality — or both together. I practice the art of still life because it gives me an opportunity to hit the PAUSE button and look — and often to truly see. Our contemporary lives are quick-fire, and our senses are constantly bombarded with something new for us to absorb. A still life painting gives us a chance to momentarily rest and to observe — to savor the sensual curve of a collar, the shimmer of a highlight on a dress, the deepening shadows in the folds of some jeans.
I love painting slowly — it is a form of meditation for me. The longer I am at the easel with a painting, the more it opens itself to me. After days (or weeks) of work, a painting begins to unfold its true inner beauty to me.
Before I begin painting on the canvas, I spend many days with my subjects (the objects) — observing them, playing with them, arranging them, searching for a composition that gives me a frisson — an excited shiver of recognition. I am searching for an arrangement that illustrates a story of lives led, choices made, moments passed. For me, a particular shape can at be once specific to a unique object and also universal in its symbolic evocations.